Getting Off on the Right Foot Academically

Getting Off on the Right Foot Academically
Karen Gold - Academic Dean & English Teacher


Four tips for families to start the new academic year off strongly

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Boarding school campuses are buzzing with students returning to campus—moving into the dorm rooms, participating in preseason athletics, and eagerly awaiting the first day of the new academic year. Whether your student is new to the school or already has a year or two under their belt, you might be thinking about how to get the year off to the best start. Here are a few ideas:

1. Connect with your student's advisor

Is your student calling you at night homesick? Are they worried about a class that seems too easy or too difficult? Do they need help with a tricky roommate situation? Maybe they just need a trusted adult to check in on them. Your student’s advisor is your point person at school! Most schools provide an opportunity to meet with them in person at the start of the academic year—at The Governor’s Academy, new families meet with their student’s advisor on registration day—but you can also contact them with questions or concerns anytime.

2. Know your academic resources

Remember that independent schools encourage students to seek extra help; at schools like Governor’s, it’s a part of their culture! Your independent school may offer a learning center with resources like help with time management, test preparation, and study skills. They may also offer extra help specific to mathematics or writing. Some schools also have a peer tutor program where students can benefit from the skills of classmates.

3. Encourage Self-Advocacy

Independent school communities are full of caring adults. Ultimately, we want students to become independent learners and to learn to advocate for themselves. Encourage them to talk to their teacher if they struggle in a class. Remind them that their advisor is there to help brainstorm solutions and problem-solve. Instead of contacting a coach on their behalf, encourage them to reach out themselves. Assure them that self-advocacy gets easier with practice!

4. Be an active member of your student's team

Independent schools welcome the opportunity to work with families to help reach our goal of preparing students to be lifelong learners, responsible citizens, and productive adults. Partner with your child’s school by holding them accountable to meet their commitments, including classes and after-school programs. And remember, when in doubt, reach out!

Independent school teachers do what they do because they love what they do! While we enjoy summer's relaxation, we still get excited (and maybe a little nervous) as the first day of school arrives. Each first day of school offers us a fresh start, knowing that the year ahead will be full of learning, laughter, and maybe some tears. For most of us, we wouldn’t have it any other way!


Author: Karen Gold- Academic Dean & English Teacher

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