I wish I had a dollar for every time my mother said, “Drive carefully, there are children out there, and they have their routines.” Originally, I thought she said it because I was a 16-year-old “new driver.” However, when she was still saying it to me 20 years later, it became clear to me that driving safely when children are present must always be a priority. The best way to make it a priority is to be aware of their routines.
A good way to figure out a routine is to visit. I had the opportunity to visit our Summer Springboard Program last week. It is truly encouraging to see our students engaging in the learning process during the summer months. Our new model utilizes the last three weeks of July and the first three weeks of August. Students have selected the July session or the August session, and many have been able to attend both sessions. In addition, we have several students working together with their families to earn books through summer reading. Sounds more and more like anytime, anywhere learning.
With that said, it’s easy to observe the marketing skills of retailers as the back-to-school displays begin to surface. In fact, local papers provide plenty of back-to-school information for citizens. In our district, as you peruse our publication, you may need additional information. If so, please check out our website, www.stfrancis.k12mn.us. Hopefully, what you need will be there. If not, please let us know, and we will add the information.
Students of all ages fill their summer with activities of some sort. It might be preparation for an academic, music or athletic endeavor. Regardless of the personal choice, the real change students experience in the summer is a change in routine. They have several options and several choices to consider.
Some people associate students returning to school with a post-State-Fair, early September date. For a good deal of our students and staff, that date is connected to August. Our high school activities program will be ramped up in mid-August as the fall season begins. Even though our professional development opportunities have been on-going for much of the summer, in August, our staff will begin to finalize ideas focused on students and increasing their achievement. It is an exciting time of the year for educators and the families they serve.
Please consider visiting schools during the open houses this fall. Visiting schools is a sure way to get an idea of the routines before, during and after school. The more information we have on how our school systems operate the better. Parents can assist students as they develop routines for the school year. Meals, homework, research, recreation and rest are all possible targets for planning routines. It might be a great idea to build in a little time to listen to students and weigh in on items they believe are important.
As the activity level in and around our schools increases in August and is all-ahead full in September, perhaps the words my mother shared with me for so many years will be useful. “Drive carefully, there are children out there, and they have their routines.”
Welcome back. The 2012-13 school year is ready to begin, and so are we.
Ed Saxton is the superintendent of the St. Francis Independent School District 15.