Surviving the back-to-school rush
Soon alarms will be buzzing at earlier hours and students will roll out of bed to go back to school. Whether starting at high school or returning to elementary school the principals in the district have some tips to help parents and students make the adjustment.
Students may have had a lazy summer and Jeremy Ranch Elementary School Principal Michele Wallace said the sooner families get back into good habits, the better.
"I think it’s always a good idea to start three days before, establishing that bed time again," she said. "Get back into that routine."
As children return to the classroom they will find themselves in a room with some unfamiliar faces. McPolin Elementary School Principal Lori O’Connor reassured parents a lot of care is taken in placing children into classes and bringing new staff into the school.
"There s a lot of groundwork that is done in the placement of children and the hiring of teachers to ensure their children will have a wonderful year," O’Connor said.
She also suggested that parents try to establish relationships with their children’s teachers early on. Volunteering or providing classroom materials in one way to do this, along with keeping in touch through email.
"Give the teacher an opportunity to get to know your student for a few weeks," she said, then express your expectations and goals.
She also mentioned parents might want to ask how the teacher is using differentiated instruction for their child.
Other ways to become involved in the school include joining the Parent Teacher Association, Parent Teacher Organization or community council, O’Connor said.
As students settle in during the first week, O’Connor said the Labor Day holiday break comes at an ideal time to help ease the transition back to school, something she added they are all ready to do.
"The majority of kids, at this point are ready to be back and so are teachers," she said.
For sixth-graders entering Ecker Hill International Middle School Principal Greg Proffit reminds them many other students are going through the same thing.
"You’re not alone," he said.
Many worry about not having any friends in classes and have questions about lunch and what time they need to get there.
"We try and make them feel good about asking questions," he said.
Another adjustment he said students at Ecker Hill have to make is transitioning from having one teacher, to seven. To help students feel more connected to the school, they are organized by teams, or groups of students with a core group of teachers.
Proffit also said parent volunteers are needed for several committees. People can sign up at the Parent Teacher Organization table at back to school night.
He also suggested a number of ways for students to get involved in the coming year from joining the Ecker Hill International Middle School Academic League, for students who excel in geography or enjoy trivial pursuit, to participating in band and orchestra.
Treasure Mountain International Middle School Principal Bob O’Connor said students should work at becoming self advocates in their education.
"One of the biggest things is to make sure they understand all of their assignments and to make sure they ask questions," he said.
The students that still struggle by the time ninth-grade rolls around and grades start counting on their transcripts if they are not self advocates.
On the first day of school at Treasure Mountain, schedules will be passed out and a modified bell schedule will be used.
O’Connor said students should use the time to become familiar with the location of their lockers, the shortest routes between classes, and learn exactly what materials they need for school.
" the second week most kids will have a handle on it," he said.
Principal Hays suggests students begin buying dress code-appropriate clothing, start reading and writing to get back in the habit and make sure fees and registration are taken care of.
She said it also helps if students come with an open mind and are willing to learn.
"They decide their attitude every day," she said.
For incoming sophomores Hays suggested that students get involved by trying out for teams, find or create a club and be inquisitive.
"Don’t be shy, ask questions and get involved," she said.
Students should also play an active role in their education by establishing relationships with teachers and introduce themselves to administration when they see them at school, Hays said.
She mentioned that as students return to the high school to visit they often say they miss the interactions they had with their teachers there.
"These are some of the most unbelievably dedicated staff," she said.
Those new to the building might also be overwhelmed by construction.
"This is one messed up building, it’s easy to get lost," she said. "It’s a beautiful mess because it’s transitioning to great things."
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Park City intends to soon seat an internal task force that will study issues within the municipal government itself related to the LGBTQ community.