What you should know when sending your child back to school this fall?

 

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I had the pleasure and opportunity to interview Principal Ms. Dorothy Handfield

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Today’s interview will focus on getting parents and students back into a positive mind-set of having a productive school year by making parents more knowledgeable, how to get involved and stay involved in their child’s academic growth.

Ayasha: As we head back to school, how can parents prepare their children for the upcoming school year?

Dorothy Hansfield: Basically, communication is key, which I always found you have to talk to the teachers and see what their expectations are for their teacher and your child throughout the school year. Sometimes I will find the parents will go out at the beginning of the school year and buy all these school supplies, school clothes, etc. then I’m like okay so when you get to sit down and talk to the teacher? Did you go to the open house? Did you ask what type of assignments and their homework assignments? Especially now, we have the High State Test throughout the year, your child is required to take these test. These are the conversations that the parents should be having with their child’s teacher throughout the school year.  I think it great that you are going out and buying all these supplies, but it is like having tools and you don’t know how to use them. I just really believe that communication is key.

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Ayasha: This is a two part question: How far in advance do you recommend for parent’s get all their children documentation together for parents who are enrolling their children into new school for time? What are your suggestions for 1st time students enrolling into public school this year?

Dorothy Hansfield: Getting your child’s immunization shot records and the additional information you need, you should have that all ready for registration. This should be done months in advance like three to four months, especially if you are enrolling more than 1 child into school this fall. You can’t get your child into a school without your child being registered.

As far as the 1st day of school, I know that most parents work if you can come to the school to introduce themselves to your child’s teacher, the aid, there are aids in some classes, and ask when is Open House, get a feel for the class, then my child can understand that I’m here and we are working together. Again that bring us right back to the communication piece which is key.

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Ayasha: So communication is key for the parent to really be actively involved with your child’s interaction, behavior, academics, and activities on campus and off school grounds.

Dorothy Hansfield: Right!

Ayasha: When a child lives a specific neighborhood or section of the city or town and they are transferring from one school to another. What experience seeing new students in your school from the neighborhood at your school? How were these kids able to make a success transition?

Dorothy Hansfield: The kids that make the easiest transition are the kids who are involved in organized neighborhood activities. Not where you just let your kids outside and they are running around.  I am talking about kids who are involved in some type of neighborhood sport and they interact with the other children so when they start school it is not that big of a deal. It is a matter of getting them to learn how to get around the building, learning the teachers and staff. The interaction with their peers that’s key which makes a big difference of how they adjust and transiting into their new school. For instance, the kids that play Pop Warren, or in a Basketball League, or Cheerleading League, they maybe be new to the building, and I did not know them, but the other kids will know because they are involved in a neighborhood activity together, or they know them from the block association. This is half of the battle right there because we are able to learn from the children. They weren’t the new kid because we are already know Johnnie or Jamila.

Ayasha: WOW that definitely gave me a lot of insight. Okay, so in most cases, the current students already know the new students so it makes transition easier for the student, teachers, and staff.

Dorothy Hansfield: Yes, that’s helps out a lot. I know that some schools, especially high schools have The Bridge program. They have the students to come to their new schools a week or few days before school officially starts just for the new students to get to the know the campus, some of the teachers that help out, so it is not fresh or brand new to them when school actually starts in September. The students have already gotten know the building, know where the location of the cafeteria, the gym, or knowing who are the key people in case they have any problems.

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Ayasha: What would be your suggestion to parents who give their children money for a class trips or on-campus school events?

Dorothy Hansfield: Well every school district is different. Some school districts they charge and some school districts don’t. It is pretty hard to give advice on that, but we don’t change our students. We try to do something free for the children because everyone cannot afford to go. I don’t think we ever charge for our students to go on any class trips. However, some school districts you are going to pay for lunch and transportation, it depends on the districts. I tell our parents not to send their children to school with any money because there is really no need for it.

Ayasha: Again as we approach brand new school year, what would be your recommendations as far as safety is concern?

Dorothy Hansfield: Safety is always first…You have to understand that the world we live in has change. People are more violent. When you think about shooting in the schools, that was something unheard of when we were in school,  but we have to take this very serious and a lot of parents that I have spoken to do understand that we had to change our policies in the school districts and schools of how we had visitors come into the building. A lot of parents have been very cooperative because they want their children to come home.

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Ayasha: Correct!

Dorothy Hansfield: Parents have to be more knowledgeable of the new policies that are enforced by the schools and stay cooperative. Some people might think or say that nothing like that will happen here, we can’t say that anymore. You never know what people are thinking or what may happen so we have to be very cautious and I believe cooperation is key. Those days of just walking into a school building, are gone. We have step up our safety policy of checking ID of all visitors and having everyone going through metal detectors. We can’t take life or anyone safety for grant anymore.

Ayasha: I agreed!

Ayasha: What type of clubs would you suggest for parents to be actively involved in?

Dororthy Hansfield: If the school, has a PTA which stands for Parent Teacher Association, or PTO or whatever Parent Association their child’s school has you have join and get involved. I always tell the parents you have more power than what you think you do. The parents are the voices for their child. I don’t take it personal if you come in and you are concern about something, well that your child. The parents has a lot of power.

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On that note, I really learned a lot from this interview and thank you for reading this very 1st edition of Life & Culture. Make sure you check back in September.

Have a productive and proactive School Year!

       2014

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