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May 1, 2017

Making the Most of the End of the Year

As the school year comes to an end, now is the perfect time to get in touch with your child’s teacher one last time before summer vacation. Do not wait until the last week of school. This is a hectic time for teachers, and they may not be able to give you their full attention and insight if you contact them in June.

It is important for both you and your child to reflect on the past year and make a plan for the path ahead. The following questions can help guide the conversation with your child’s teacher. Depending on your child’s age and maturity, it might be a good idea for him or her to join in on this discussion.   

  1. Where have you observed progress this year, both academically and socio-emotionally?

You will want to know how your child improved in content as well as in his or her relationships and interactions in the classroom setting. Be sure to ask about both. Does your child get along well with other students? How does your child handle conflict or disagreements? It is likely you already have a handle on your child’s academic strengths, but study skills, listening skills, and peer collaboration ar important aspects of the educational process. Be sure to note these strengths so you can encourage them in your child.

     2. What concerns do you have, either academic or socio-emotional?

After discussing your child’s progress, be sure to talk about areas for growth. Even the strongest students can improve. Are there attention or organization concerns? Is your child lacking confidence or hesitant when it comes to class participation? How does your child respond to challenges or set backs?  Now is the time to bring up concerns you see at home. Do those concerns match what the teacher sees in the classroom? Again, it is important to discuss academic and socio-emotional concerns.

     3.What skills should we work on this summer?

Ask the teacher to be as specific as possible and pass on these skills to your child’s tutor. Summer tutoring sessions are a great time to practice skills that were never quite mastered, even skills reaching as far back as first semester. You can expect a teacher to encourage your child to keep reading over the summer. This isn’t just an easy out; reading really is the best way to prevent summer brain drain, and most schools and library have summer reading programs to motivate young readers.

    4. How can I help my child succeed next year?

This may include getting your child into certain classes or school activities. You may need to implement new organizational systems over the summer to help your child become more independent and responsible. This might also mean preparing your child for next year’s curriculum. Use the summer months to casually introduce relevant subject matter that your child will be studying next year. If civil rights, state history, or ancient Egypt are in store, you can be sure to visit a museum, or check out books or movies from the library. These experiences will build your child’s background knowledge which will help him or her connect to new information come next year.  

    5. Do you have any resource recommendations we can take advantage of this summer?

Teachers are a wonderful wealth of information when it comes to books, summer camps, community activities, apps, websites, etc. They have spent the year getting to know your child and may be able to point you toward resources that your child will enjoy.

End this school year on a positive note by taking time to reflect, ask questions, and plan for continued success.  

Written by Joy Becker, Connections Tutoring, Mentoring Coordinator

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