🍁Next week school!🏫 🎒 Worcester Public Schools families and students, here’s some advice!📚🥞💻


By John Monfredo, retired Worcester Public Schools teacher and principal and former Worcester School Committee member

Mr. Monfredo and hundreds of books donated to his and his wife Annemarie’s annual book drive – all for Worcester County kids! photos submitted.📚

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
in any direction you choose!

– Dr. Seuss.

Greetings from CECELIA/InCity Times, WPS students, parents and school staff!

It’s back to school time, and this week one can hear all over our city the voices of kids and parents: “I can’t believe that school has started! Summer vacation is over!”

Yes, if you live in Worcester, school starts this coming Monday, August 28 – for WPSchools grades 1 to 12, with pre-school and kindergarten children starting school August 31. Our city schools will be screening kindergarten children by appointment from August 28 onwards …

Putting on my former school principal hat (Belmont Community for years!), I would like to urge our teachers, especially our new teachers to the school district, to reach out to our parents early on and write a letter to them introducing themselves, stating their goals for the year and letting parents know that they want them to part of the learning process. Parents are too often an untapped asset in building our students’ pathways to success.

Again, as I have mentioned several times in the past, research confirms that regardless of a parents’ background, when PARENTS are involved in their children’s education, the results are more student success! You don’t need to be a researcher to know that family involvement can make a positive difference in school attendance, student behaviorand academic achievement. What is needed is for schools to develop and ensure that parent involvement is embraced and not just given lip service. All schools need to welcome family members to their schools. If schools don’t make the invite, the lack of positive interaction will stifle family-school connections.

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Back to school, Worcester!

I would also encourage our WPS teachers to call parents throughout the school year with good news about their children, for so many times the only conversation parents have with the teacher is when something goes wrong. A one-minute telephone call to a parent with good news can make a difference in the climate of a school. As a former principal, I can attest that this strategy of accentuating the positive works! It’s a fantastic way to establish rapport with parents. In addition, every teacher needs to keep in mind that students may forget what you said, students may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Thus, a message of “I care” about you succeeding in school must be established.

Get kids reading – read to them, too!

Moving on to our parents …
As mentioned YOU are essential in the success of your child having a successful school year. At home parents need to set up priorities such as bedtime because sleep is at the center of a healthy lifestyle, and your child needs to get off to a good start in the morning. According to research, it’s essential that parents keep a bedtime routine – especially during school time. Another suggestion is an hour before bedtime put away all electronic devices to help kids wind down and use that time for reading before turn they in for the night.

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Healthy breakfast parfaits are tasty, too! Make sure kids eat a terrific breakfast – remember, our schools provide free breakfast and lunch to all WPS students!

Another wellness tip is for children to eat well – have a healthy diet. Wellness and academics go hand in hand. Eating fruits and vegetables is essential, as well as making sure that your child has the proper amount of physical exercise. Remember – healthy students tend to do well in school.

Parents need to develop good management practices at home with their children, such as establishing homework time and helping their child pack their school backpacks before turning in and placing them near your front door. Speaking of backpacks, parents need to retrieve them as soon as their children come home and get those papers out – sign permission slips and add appointments on the family calendar. Routines can be a potent force in keeping everyone on the same track. Consider a checklist for the simple tasks of who gets to use the bathroom first and what’s for breakfast.

Luis Sanchez! Get your kids involved in school sports – fun and good for bodies and minds!

Parents need to work with their child on the importance of concentration, whether it is in studying your math facts or studying for a trigonometry test. Research suggests that turning off access to emails and computer games is essential. Also, set the rules … the cell phone, computer and the television are off limits during homework time. Most important, find a quiet place for your child to study.

Other suggestions:

· Review the school’s handbook and the district’s web site.

· Contact the teacher immediately if your child doesn’t understand an assignment or if you notice a change in your child’s behavior or school performance.

· Worth mentioning … participate in parent meetings and conferences and special events at the school. Do join the school’s Parent o?Organization!

On behalf of CECELIA/InCity Times, I wish everyone a great school year!

Don’t forget – visit your library for school projects and to supplement what’s being taught in the classroom! CECELIA file photo: Jim Coughlin

And should you need any advice or assistance, please feel free to contact me at monfredoj@gmail.com