MADISON (WKOW) -- The excitement of a new school year hasn't worn off just yet. It's only the first or second day for most students around here.
As Madison-area students head back to class this week, they'll spend a lot of time with their new teachers. But, parents may hold the key to making sure their children are really successful in school this year. Educators say it all starts with them.
Dr. Jane Belmore is the Madison Metropolitan School District's new interim superintendent. She says, "It's important for parents to establish routines, especially around sleep and nutrition and coming off a summer vacation that may be challenging."
A long-time educator, Dr. Belmore says what parents do during the school year may make all the difference. She calls parental involvement "critical."
That doesn't mean we all have to know trigonometry or head up the PTA. Sometimes just stressing the importance of school is enough. "Small things can be important, just telling your child how important school is can be very critical."
Parents can do that by asking questions about what happened at school every day and making sure their children have what they need: not just school supplies, but a healthy breakfast and enough sleep! Dr. Belmore says, "Without that sleep they're not going to do their best in school."
That goes for high schoolers too. And also important for them, Dr. Belmore says, is giving them a little independence. "Not doing too much for them and helping them become responsible."
And the younger kids will learn responsibility too when parents make them get that homework done. "For new learning to take hold, students need to practice in a number of places. Not just in classroom, in other areas of life as well," says Dr. Belmore.
Dr. Belmore says one thing the Madison district is focused on this year is communication with parents. School officials want parents to stay involved and know what's going on with their child. She says she wants all parents to feel welcome in the schools at any time.