The phrase “it takes a village” to raise a child is one we toss around easily, and it's truth is evident in a strong parent-school partnership. The most successful children have a strong team supporting them throughout their educational career. All parents and students need support at one time or another, some for a short time, others for a longer time. It’s important to ask for help. Many schools offer resources, such as tutors, a Learning Center, or other faculty and staff dedicated to individualized student enrichment.
Empathy among young people is a popular conversational theme these days. Indeed, educators across the country have noticed a need to teach basic moral values in the classroom. An article by teacher Paul Barnwell in “The Atlantic”, expounds the reasons for that trend, and gives examples of teachers taking lessons outside the classroom and into the community to give students valuable moral insight. Mr. Barnwell notes that while schools say high moral standards are embedded in a rigorous curriculum, it’s rare to see those values in action.
At Shorecrest Preparatory School, in St. Petersburg, Florida, the core values held by the school are actively modeled. The largest single demonstration of our community's commitment to Responsibility, Respect, Integrity, Knowledge and Compassion happens every year at the holiday season. Students, faculty, administrators and parents join together to provide gifts to children in foster care.
It may not surprise parents and teachers that social media use among middle schoolers and teens is growing. Yet, many of us struggle to make sense of what our kids are doing online. We don’t understand what the fuss is about, and can’t seem to keep up with all the new apps and tools that are popping up. Often teens are more savvy than we might give them credit for. Common Sense Media, a website offering expert, parent and child reviews of technological entertainment, reports that 72% of teens believe that companies manipulate users into spending more time on their devices.
Balancing the benefits of technology against its distractions, especially for middle school students, is an important topic for educators and parents alike. Recently I shared some tips on starting a conversation with your student about her use of technology. Remember, our Middle School students have a facility with the device that adults usually do not. However, there is a need for parents to monitor the way a student uses his or her device.
Typically, parents have the knowledge and children still have something to learn. With tech, the tables are often turned. At Shorecrest, an Apple Distinguished School, technology and the iPad are threaded into our Middle School days. As a result, our Middle School students have a facility with the device that adults usually do not. However, there is a need for parents to monitor the way a student uses his or her device. Here are some starting points for a conversation with your Middle School student about using the iPad appropriately and avoiding distractions.