Summer is a much-needed time of discovery, fun and experience for students. But, as time draws near for school to start again, will they be ready?

Summer is a much-needed time of discovery, fun and experience for students. But, as time draws near for school to start again, will they be ready?

No matter what age, the next level of education can be intimidating – for both students and parents. The mystery of what to expect can be solved by simply staying involved with the students' lives. Check all paperwork that is sent home, call the schools or administration for any questions or concerns.

“We would encourage anyone with questions to call the school their child will attend next fall,” said Dr. Blaine Henningsen, Carthage R-9 superintendent. “We will have people working in our buildings most of the summer, so parents should be able to get a quick response to their questions – I would also encourage parents to have their children read for fun over the summer.”

As a way of preparing for the next level, 58 youngsters who will be in the Steadley Elementary School's kindergarten this fall were attending summer school. Dr. Tom Barlow, principal of the school, said he was pleased to see such preparation.

“I would say good communication between the school and home is crucial,” he said. “We love to hear from parents.”

Amanda Muller, translator for Mark Twain Elementary School, said seeing the kids grow before her eyes is a powerful thing. She was all smiles, though, at the Mark Twain track meet at the end of the school year.

“It's bitter-sweet because that means another year of fourth graders are moving on to the middle school,” she said, “but that's a good thing because that's what we want them to do … it's just hard to see them go.”

Heidi Gilligan, mother of a Carthage student, toured the Carthage Junior High School, as her son will transition straight from St. Ann's School.

“I like to be very informed and involved,” she said. “I just wanted to see with my own eyes what he'll be experiencing. And the school is big compared to our little St. Ann's.”
She said she left her tour pleased.

“They run a tight ship, and think that's exactly what's needed,” Gilligan said.

Judy Bowers, preschool teacher at Little Sprouts, Carthage, said children going through a transition to the first level of education is a fragile time; just being there is hard enough. She recommends children have structure and a routine.

“The advice I would give would be for parents to talk with their kids,” Bowers said, “simple colors for example, count stairs, there are so many things you can be doing now that will help them so much when they move up to preschool.”

Carthage High School Principal Kandy Frazier offers this to the community:

“By the time students come to the high school level it is vital that they have had many years of preparation and support both from school and home,” she wrote The Press. “It is helpful when students come from families that have made school a priority and have dedicated times and set expectations for reading and study.  

“As a parent, holding your child responsible, communicating your expectations and teaching them respect for themselves and others are keys to a positive school experience. Building good habits for attendance, punctuality, time management and organization are critical for success in the classroom and in life. Research shows that students that participate in at least one extra curricular school activity are more successful than those that do not actively participate. Additionally, students that are physically fit with good eating and sleep habits are far more successful than students that do not practice healthy habits.  

“Students that come to school with a variety of life experiences seem to transition more easily because they have been exposed to varied environments and perspectives.  As a high school we focus on providing students with many options and experiences to enhance the previous situations they have faced at home and in the community as well as introducing them to new opportunities and possibilities.

A key ingredient to student success is an open line of communication  between home and school.  As both parents and school professionals we want the best experience for our kids.  Working together and communicating with one another will promote student advocacy, skill development, confidence, mutual respect and independence.

“Our goal is that at the conclusion of a student’s high school career they will have the necessary skills to be prepared for the next stage of their life,” Fraizer concludes. “We want students to believe in themselves embracing challenges and change. We want them to be ready for all that life holds.”