I had the opportunity to attend my first independent school open house of the season this past weekend. I love the atmosphere of an open house; there is so much excitement in the air. From the buzz of potential families chatting to the enthusiasm of the faculty and staff as they showcase how they fulfill the mission, open houses really emphasize the community feel.
With all the excitement, an open house can be a lot to process afterward to determine if next steps should be taken. Here are some questions to ask if you are unclear on next steps:
If you have enthusiastic answers to all the answers above, then follow the next steps of engagement for the school admissions process, which may include a parent tour, the application, a student visit day or an interview.
Enjoy your school visits!
As you shop for school supplies for the upcoming year, “planner” is often on the supply list, especially for middle school and high school students. There are some schools that supply planners for the students. As a former administrator, I did this for many years. I would get together a student committee to pick out the cover for the year, select the supplemental materials (periodic table, world map, etc.) and I would order and distribute on the first day of school. The company that I used, like many of the planner companies, didn’t allow for different formats for organizing time. All were horizontal blocks of space with a date, and students would have to figure out their content within this box. I didn’t use it myself, as I prefer to organize in time blocks, with lists. I started noticing that students were purchasing their own planners or not using it, preferring their phone or computer as their main organizational tool. After talking with students, I discontinued purchasing planners because I was promoting a “one size fits all” type of atmosphere when it comes the planning. Instead, with the help of staff, we opened the conversation around organization and finding the right fit for them. Here are some key questions to ask when shopping for an organizational tool:
How does your student like to organize?
Does your student love notebooks and hard copies of documents? Love different pens, highlighters and stickers? Or are they attached to their phone, tablet or computer and digital color coding and icons? Either way is fine! It’s OK to have your student use Outlook, Google Calendar or other apps to organize their time! If your student prefers to e-organize and their school does require a tangible organizational tool, match up a simple calendar that looks as close to their favorite application as possible.
What format comes easy to them?
Does your student organize in lists? Daily timetable? Weekly calendar? Month-at-a glance format? Choose a format that they can utilize to fulfill their goals- whether it is checking off the list for the day, or looking at the whole month and chunking time accordingly, your student should feel a sense of accomplishment for whatever window of time feels best for them.
What does not work for them?
It’s also important to realize what doesn’t work for organization. I had a student who loved a brand of planner that many of her peers had. The planner itself was very colorful and was fun to look at. Inside, the planner just had blank blocks of time for each day. This student needed help with structure and while she loved having the planner for aesthetic appeal, she was not comfortable using it because it wasn’t a good tool for her.
Hopefully these questions can start a conversation with your family around how everyone can best organize their time and tasks.
I am sure most of us had summer reading lists when we were growing up. I was a big reader and used to go through book after book in the summer, staying up late insisting that I was just going to read “one more page” and then I would turn the lights out.
As an adult, I have tried to make reading a priority, especially during the summer. I feel there is nothing like getting lost in a page turner during plane travel, and still insist that I will only read “one more page” and then turn the lights out.
While I do make sure that I have some recreational books, I always make a reading list for myself during the summer. Summer is a time to recharge and reconnect for so many, including myself. Through this idea, I make sure that I read a couple of books that will launch me into the fall and teach me something new that I can pass along to students and families.
I am a re-reader, so this summer I am rereading Mindset by Carol Dweck. I am also reading Teach Your Children Well by Dr. Madeline Levine. Both titles have a brief synopsis on my Bookshelf page. I look forward to putting both titles to work as we launch into school searches in the fall.
Enjoy the rest of the summer of relaxing and recharging!