Back-to-school is for parents, tooRight now I’ll bet many parents are saying, “I can’t believe the first day of school is just around the corner!” I’ve often said that myself, as a parent, teacher, principal, and now superintendent.
By: Bill Gronseth, Duluth Budgeteer News
Right now I’ll bet many parents are saying, “I can’t believe the first day of school is just around the corner!” I’ve often said that myself, as a parent, teacher, principal, and now superintendent.
These roles require different back-to-school preparation, but each focuses on a similar goal – to ensure a readiness to help students learn and achieve to their full potential.
What parents do to support their children’s education is vitally important to their success, from making sure they get to bed at a reasonable hour and eat healthy meals, to providing homework assistance and being active at the school. Decades of research shows that when parents are interested and involved, a child achieves more. Parent involvement can result in higher grades and graduation rates, better school attendance, increased motivation, greater enrollment rates in post-secondary education as well as lower rates of suspension, decreased use of drugs and alcohol and fewer instances of violent behavior. The National PTA has many tips for helping parents increase student success at www.pta.org.
Looking at a bigger picture, our teachers and staff work continually to improve and adjust curricula for each school year, reviewing data and identifying support specific to individual student needs. During July and August much time is spent analyzing state test results, but schools also conduct testing throughout the school year to gauge student progress and make adjustments. School time is important – so is out-of-school time, especially when it comes to the socioeconomic achievement gap. In that regard, we’re working closely with the United Way Delegation on Education. If we are to truly make headway toward ensuring all students achieve their potential, we must build more partnerships like this one. Communitywide planning and communication play a significant role. I encourage people who care about education to look for opportunities to participate in these important activities and conversations.
Administrative preparation included finalizing the budget, adjusting the child nutrition program to reflect new federal standards, moving into the two new and newly renovated middle schools, and starting work on the last two renovation projects, Myers-Wilkins and Congdon Park Elementaries. These two projects mark the end of a multi-year facilities overhaul that took us from three high schools to two, four middle schools to two, 11 elementary schools to nine, and from one K-8 to none. Remaining schools were updated or rebuilt to reflect modern standards and practices related to education, safety, and efficiency.
As we make preparations for the new school year I hope families will use these last few weeks of summer break to take advantage of the many learning opportunities available in Duluth. Hiking in our local parks, visiting the library or attending area festivals and events can be great learning experiences. Such activities not only help your child learn new information and skills but also build great family memories that will last a lifetime.
Best wishes for the rest of the summer, and for a great school year.
Bill Gronseth is the superintendent of Duluth Public Schools. Contact him at (218)336-8752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.