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Topic Archives: Parental Involvement

Parent Teacher Conferences: Making the Most of 15 Minutes

October 30, 2017

  For many, the coming weeks bring parent teacher conferences. If that engenders some hesitation, you are not alone. Parents, teachers and administrators all acknowledge the parent teacher conference system is flawed. Teachers feel rushed to cover too much information. They might feel barraged by questions from parents who recognize they have limited time and want lots of answers. Parents regularly complain there isn’t enough time to hear all they need to help their child improve. Even the typically objective wikipedia cynically describes parent teacher conferences as: Meetings generally led by teachers who take a more active role in information sharing, with parents relegated mostly to the role of listeners. It’s not that schools don’t want to fix the system. It’s just logistically challenging. See the side bar for a quick read on one… Read More

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The Coach Approach for Kids with ADHD (and other Complex Kids)

October 27, 2017

This is the second in our two part series for ADHD Awareness Month. Last we wrote about why identifying ADHD is so important. This week our guest blog is from Elaine Taylor-Klaus, co-founder of ImpactADHD and past board member of CHADD, who discusses the importance of parent coaching. The best way to help our kids is often to help ourselves, the adults in their lives who are there to love and support them on a daily basis. by Elaine Taylor-Klaus Do you frequently ask yourself, “why can’t this child just,” or otherwise at a loss for how best to help a child who is struggling daily? You probably parent or teach a complex child. Ranging from 4 to 24, complex kids may be quirky or odd, sensitive or angry, isolated or lonely,… Read More

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Do You Really Need a United Front in Parenting?

March 23, 2017

Nancy Weinstein offers a mother’s contrarian view, admittedly developed out of desperation Is a United Front in Parenting Essential? Conventional wisdom dictates the importance of children experiencing a united front in parenting when it comes to rules, discipline and behavior. If Dad says it, Mom needs to back him up. And vice versa. Otherwise, psychologists tell us, children will feel confused and not have the structure they need to feel safe and secure. According to Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., author of The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, “My advice is that if your child is not yet eleven or so, you and your spouse should do what you can to present a united front. It will make life a lot easier for… Read More

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2017: The Year to Bite the Magic Bullet

January 5, 2017

By Nancy Weinstein We remain optimistic that technology has the promise to transform education. Yet we start 2017 with a sobering reminder that technology’s impact has been slow and inconsistent. In every community, students are still struggling or disengaged, parents are anxious, and teachers are stressed. So what do we do next? Keep trying new solutions? Give it another year? We say it’s time to accept that technology is not the magic bullet that will save our educational system. We know technology can help make learning and teaching easier and more enjoyable. But only if we first embrace the three human elements essential to effective learning. Students will need to work hard to learn. There is no solution, technology or otherwise, that will change that. There’s no… Read More

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5 Key Messages with Kids: So They Really Listen

December 14, 2016

  Consistency matters. If we want our kids to learn, parents and teachers need to be delivering the same consistent, key messages with kids at home and at school. Why so important? Elementary school kids literally hear every word you say. And they generally want to please. But if they get conflicting messages, they can’t please everyone. They might stop trying. By middle school, however, we need to face the reality that tweens and teens don’t hear a lot of what adults say. It becomes even more essential to deliver simple, consistent key messages with kids so that when they tune in, the message sticks. 5 Key Messages with Kids What Do You Think? All too often, adults tell but forget to ask and listen. It’s amazing… Read More

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It Takes A Village

September 27, 2016

Guest Blog by Jen Cort When kids are little, parents know they need trusted adults for events such as picking them up from school in case of emergency or hosting them on playdates. What we may not realize is that trusted adults are perhaps even more important in middle and high schools than in elementary school. Trusted adults are those adults you feel comfortable allowing your child to be in the care of and/or providing advice to your child in your absence. As your child grows, her/his needs also change. Therefore, it’s necessary to reevaluate the trusted adults in your child’s life on an ongoing basis. For example, social identifiers (such as race, gender and religion) may move into or out of… Read More

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It’s All in the Details: A Strengths-Based Approach to Growth Mindset

September 14, 2016

By Nancy Weinstein I’m a big fan of Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. It’s hard not to be. It’s evidence-based research that, in its most basic form, tells us that if a student tries hard and believes he can do it, i.e. has a growth mindset, he will succeed if he keeps at it. Conversely, if he has a fixed mindset, i.e. believes he was genetically preordained to succeed (or not), chances are that no matter what his gifts and talents, over time he will grow to fear failure, stop taking risks, and not live up to his full potential. Some of the most encouraging findings around growth mindset are that adults have HUGE influence in helping kids develop a growth mindset and it’s NEVER TOO LATE. No wonder that schools… Read More

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Happy Student, Happy Life

August 31, 2016

When parents are asked what they desire most for their children’s future, not surprisingly the overwhelming response includes the word happiness. And yet, we grown-ups might be doing just the opposite. Regardless of what we tell our children, they primarily learn by our example. And when our heartfelt efforts to give our children the very best sometimes violate what we believe or know to be right, we understandably forgive ourselves. But our children? Our children model what they see, not what they’re told. And that implies that we might be inadvertently instilling behaviors and beliefs that will make their long-term happiness that much more elusive. But we can, and should, change. Here’s how. Our Top Science-Based Strategies of What Parents Should Stop Saying and Start Doing Stop Saying “You need to work hard… Read More

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Back-to-School Essential Reads

August 16, 2016

Re-engaging after a long summer vacation can be tough. So tough that students often need to spend the first month of school reviewing the last two months of the previous school year. Adults are no different. So, today we share with you the most important things that your summer brain might have missed or forgotten. These reads will get you ready to make this the best school year yet. A Parent’s Guide to the First Six Weeks  A primer for parents to ensure a good transition. How to Crush School  Review of new book for middle and high school students by teacher Oskar Cymermann. Teaches teens to develop study skills for school and life success. The Forgetting Curve Learning is a different skill from remembering,… Read More

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A Parent’s Guide for Back to School Success

August 2, 2016

Before School Starts One or two weeks before the start of school, have some one-on-one time with each child. Discuss the upcoming year. Do a lot more listening than speaking– you want to hear their concerns and allay them. For younger students, parents might need to set expectations for homework time and grades. For teens, it might be time to let your child set realistic expectations about their classes, grades, and extra-curriculars. Then agree on a schedule or routine to make it happen that includes sufficient sleep, full meals, and time for relaxation. Week 1: Focus on a good adjustment. For younger kids, do they have the seat that will enable them to focus? Are they comfortable speaking to their teacher? Do they… Read More

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