Three secrets of school success

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

The opposite also is true: the impacts of moving, absences and behavioral issues have a negative effect on learning. When you think about it, these three things all take time and continuity away from learning. But some families have to move, children do get sick and should not go to school, and some children need help learning to follow rules and directions. So what can parents do?

1. Talk to your kids as soon as the move is imminent. Listen to how they feel about moving and reassure them that they can stay in touch with old friends.

2. Tell your children's teachers about the impending move and set up a time when the kids can say goodbye to classmates and school staff.

3. Inform the building principal of the move and request that records be transferred to the new school.

4. Ask your children's current teachers to talk with the new teachers when you are settled.

5. Meet with the building principal at the new school and design an "entry plan" to help your kids settle into the new school smoothly and quickly.

6. Follow up with the children and with the new teachers after a few weeks to see how things are going.

1. Ask to have your child's assignments sent home by e-mail or with a friend.

2. Work on the assignments with your child when he is feeling better to ensure a good understanding of the content.

3. Look for patterned illness. For example, do the illnesses occur every other Friday? This may signal something your child is trying to avoid. Follow up with the teacher in these cases to see what happens on Fridays.

4. If your child's illness is longterm, work with the school to get home instruction for your child.

Parents can help their children by setting a few rules at home and playing games that require following directions. If a child is having difficulty following school rules and teacher directions, here are some ideas to help.

1. Meet with the teacher to determine in what area your child is having difficulty.

2. Together, develop a plan for your child's behavior at school that you can reinforce at home. It's important for you to agree with the plan so you can support the teacher and your child.

3. If the behaviors do not improve or get worse over time, talk with your pediatrician. In some cases, children have difficulty hearing oral directions, particularly children prone to middle ear infections. An inability to follow written directions may be a signal of poor eyesight.

4. Continue to set expectations for following rules and directions at home.

Sometimes in life we can't prevent practical problems, like relocating due to financial or job concerns, or the illness of our children. But try to do whatever you can to make sure your child goes to school regularly, stays healthy, and knows how to follow rules. These are just a few educational secrets to success.

Mary Lou Rush Ph.D. is executive director of the Center for Students, Families and Communities at the Ohio Department of Education. Dr. Rush is an educational psychologist whose primary responsibility at the department is to recommend policies and practices to address barriers to children's ability to learn.