5 Tips to a Great School Year

For many of us, the school year has already begun. Every parent wants their child to succeed, and there are great opportunities for parents to get involved and stay involved throughout the school year.

According to statistics, out of more than 8 million Black public school students, 76 percent attend schools inside urbanized areas. Fifteen percent are in towns that are defined as built up communities that lie outside of urban areas with populations of less than 50,000 and greater than 2,500. More than half (57%) of Black public school children live in the South which is only a slightly higher percentage of African Americans in the South as a whole (55%).

Whether your child attends a private or public school, your involvement matters. Here are five tips to a great school year.

1) Make a plan.

One way to start the year off great is to take a few minutes and sit down with your child before the school year starts to create a plan of action. Print out two copies of the school schedule for the year and keep one copy at your desk at work. The other one goes on the family board or refrigerator. Sit down with your child and set realistic goals for the school year. Make the list of goals short, attainable, and measurable.

2) Check in.

Set aside 15 minutes each day to discuss with your child the details of their day. Instead of asking what happened at school today, ask more specific questions about a certain part of their day. What was your favorite part of your day? What was the most frustrating part of your day? Listen intently without reacting negatively. If your child does not have anything to share regarding their day, make sure to share the best part of your day with them. This will encourage them to open up more about the details of their day while modeling the process.

3) Stagger the new school items.

Though the temptation is to send in all the school supplies at once, and wear the new clothes everyday for the first two weeks, save some of the items for days down the road.  This will keep you from purchasing more items a month later. Spacing out recent purchases will also allow you to have new items and clothes for later. Also, consider purchasing an extra book bag for a child or family in need.

4) Build a team.

Write down five trusted people that will help you meet the goals that you have set for your child this year. The list can include former teachers, coaches, counselors, friends, and family. This list will remind you that you are not alone in your mission to create a positive school year for your child. Before school starts, send out an email thanking them for their positive involvement in your child’s life. Reach out during the school year if you need their assistance. This is an organic way of creating a village of support.

5) Remain excited.

Your child’s level of enthusiasm mirrors yours. Put important dates like open houses and school visits on your calendar. Give the new teacher a Starbucks or Target gift card as an investment and a bridge builder for your relationship. Send a handwritten “thank you” note to the counselors and/or secretaries at your child’s school. Attend school nights, open houses, and events at your child’s school as your schedule permits.

Eraina Ferguson is a writer currently penning a memoir about raising a daughter with special needs. You can learn more about her at: