Alert Solutions Blog

The Importance of Teacher-Student Relationships in K-12 Schools

Posted by Philip Young on Mon, May 06, 2019 @ 10:05 AM

Positive Teacher Student RelationshipTeachers who make an effort to foster positive and influential relationships with students make a huge impact on children going through school. Not only are they making students comfortable in their learning environment, studies show supportive teacher-student relationships lead to higher levels of achievement than those students with conflict in their relationships.

If you think back to when you were a student yourself, did you make an effort academically when you loved your teacher? Teachers who treat their students how they want to be treated become ‘popular’ to students, which leads to mutual respect. Keeping the line between student and teacher, but also showing students you’re making a concerted effort, will gain their trust and friendship.

5 Tips to Better Your Teacher-Student Relationship

  1. Get to Know Your Students
    The first thing a teacher should do when building a positive teacher-student relationship is getting to know his or her students. Find out their interests, whether it is a favorite sport, TV show, or school activity. NEA recommends talking to students and listening to what's on their mind: “…they will begin to see that you're not just another adult, but someone who is genuinely interested in them.” It is suggested that you do not have any ‘favorites’, but making an extra effort to build a better teacher-student relationship with children who may be a disciplinary problem doesn’t hurt. This can be done by giving compliments such as, “You did a nice job in class today by raising your hand instead of blurting out when you had ideas to share. Your cooperation in class made it easier for me to teach today. Thanks.”

  2. Protect Your Student’s Self-Esteem
    Adolescents and young adults are fairly vulnerable when in school. Their priority is their social standing and relationships with their peers, which tends to cause students to pull away from adults. For this reason, it’s important to protect your teacher-student relationship by managing discipline in your classroom without an audience. NEA tells us, “Being criticized by a teacher in front of their peers humiliates them. To avoid “losing face”, students may react by talking back, smirking, or walking out of class. They will do whatever it takes to preserve their dignity.” Although it is easier said than done, reacting to student outbursts should be quiet and quick with no sarcasm or condescending comments. If you can react to a problem in a light manner or even with a joke, this can prevent any jabs to a student’s self-esteem and protect your teacher-student relationship.

  3. Appreciate Good Student Habits
    Unfortunately teachers find a lot of their interaction with students at a classroom level is due to disruption. When students are listening well or working quietly, make sure you appreciate that. Addressing the class with compliments is a great way to build teacher-student relationships. NEA provides these examples of positive statements towards a classroom:
    • "It's really great to see all of you start your homework without having to be told.”
    • “I appreciate that you are all working so quietly.”
    • “The bell just rang. I see that everyone is in the right seat. That's great.”
    • “It’s easy to carry on a discussion when people raise their hand and don't interrupt others. I appreciate that.”
    • “You're a great class; I enjoy being your teacher.” 

  4. Listen to Your Students
    Being open to receiving feedback from your students is a good quality to have as a teacher, as students like to feel as though they have some influence in what goes on in class. It can also lead to a respectful teacher-student relationship. Topics that could be up for discussion with students include school policies, assignments, and grades. Taking the time to listen to your students’ concerns and ideas shows them that you care and value their thoughts.

  5. Work on Your Teacher-Parent Relationship
    Having a good teacher-student relationship is great, but having parents and guardians on board as well is extremely helpful in fostering student success. Engaging parents in their child’s education often encourages better grades, higher test scores, reduced rates of substance abuse and better social skills. One way to do this is having open lines of communication with parents, which can be done easily with the help of your school notification system.

With these 5 helpful tips, you’re well on your way to creating incredible teacher-student relationships.

Alert Solution’s proudly works with many incredible K-12 teachers across the country and internationally. Our school notification platform, SwiftK12, helps foster positive teacher-parent relationships, as well as teacher-student relationships.  

Interested in learning more? Download our brochure today!

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Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement, parent communication, student engagement

St. Patrick’s Day Lessons: Your Students are Lucky!

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Mar 14, 2019 @ 10:03 AM

Top of the mornin’ to you! As we’re sure you already know, St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Every year St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, the anniversary of the death of the Irish patron saint, St. Patrick. This holiday has been observed on this day by Irish families for over 1,000 years.

Who Was Saint Patrick?

According to History.com, Saint Patrick lived during the fifth century and is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born in Roman Britain and at just 16 years old he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. After escaping, he returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people. History.com shares “In the centuries following Patrick’s death the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well-known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.”

Educators are consistently looking for ways to engage their students, but also provide important lessons and knowledge. Holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day are the perfect way to do so. This year the holiday falls on a Sunday, which makes celebrating in K-12 schools difficult. We suggest continuing the celebration on Monday, March 18th.

Boy With Four Leaf Clover St Patrick's Day

You’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of 4 great ideas that several K-12 schools have incorporated into their classrooms for St. Patty’s. These include informative lessons on Irish culture, history, and traditions, as well as fun activities promoting teamwork and creativity. Bring the luck of the Irish into your school and share the excitement with your students, fellow faculty, and parents at home with a quick and easy school notification or digital newsletter.

4 St. Patrick’s Day Themed Lessons for Your Students

  1. History of Irish Writers
    There are several incredible Irish born authors including W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw. Try sharing history on these authors, or encouraging your students to think about how these writers’ Irish heritage influenced their writing. For younger students consider looking at classic Irish folklore.

  2. Potato Science Project & Irish Potato Famine History
    Potatoes are a big part of Irish history, so incorporate them in your lesson! TeachHub suggests growing a potato in a jar of water so young students can see the root system. For older students they recommend “growing several potatoes in a variety of solutions – plain water, water with fertilizer, water with bleach, etc. – and see which grows best.” You can also teach your students the history of the Irish Potato Famine as a St. Patrick’s Day lesson as it is controversial and related to World History, American History, and Government.

  3. Celtic Knot History & Tutorial
    This is a fun St. Patrick’s Day themed art project teachers could cover in the classroom. There is a lot of history behind Celtic Europe outlined here. National Education Association also encourages teachers to use this great resource – a tutorial on the introduction to knot work construction. “This tutorial covers basic interlacing techniques, simple border and panel construction, analysis of existing patterns, interlaced corners, more advanced patterns (such as “doubled” knots), and provides links to other, advanced sources for your further research.”

  4. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt
    Encourage your students to hunt for gold!
    We Are Teachers recommend getting your students up and moving with this free printable scavenger hunt. “You can time the hunt, create groups, or even conduct the activity outdoors. To extend the activity, you might have your students decorate old tissue boxes as treasure chests in which they can store their findings.”

At Alert Solutions we strive to bring interesting and different ideas to teachers to help engage students. We certainly hope these 4 St. Patrick’s Day lessons come in handy! Working with K-12 schools and districts across the country, and internationally, we believe being a resource to our customers is one of the components that makes us a wonderful company to work with.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.

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Topics: holiday, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, student engagement

Parent Engagement Nights: Ideas to Boost Parental Involvement

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Mar 05, 2019 @ 10:03 AM

Parental involvement in education is a highly discussed topic that’s gaining traction among K-12 educators. Encouraging parents to be engaged with their child’s school work is not only seen as an important rule of thumb, but it has many benefits for students.

Parental Involvement in Classroom

Studies tell us good parental involvement leads students to attend school more regularly, earn better grades, and have higher test scores. Children also have been shown to have lower rates of substance abuse and delinquent acts. The positive results speak for themselves; the tricky part is convincing parents to get involved.

Planning Your Parental Involvement 

It takes more than just parents and teachers to get parent engagement activities in the works. Kelly Bielefeld plans out her parent engagement nights to be informative sessions for parents to learn things that will ultimately help them support their child. This is what she does when planning:

  • Recruit a Team:
    Gathering a group of people to help with putting together a fun and inclusive parent engagement activity is essential. You want to make sure you’re hosting an event that parents want to attend, which is easier to do with a group of helpers on your side.

  • Pick Your Focus:
    There are a lot of fun ideas and informative areas your team can focus a parental involvement activity on, but choosing one can be difficult as there are many places to start. Should the focus be about curriculum, social issues, technology, student work, or the school’s mission? Reach out to parents and see what resonates with them and go from there. Bielefeld suggests rotating the areas of focus so that all parents are engaged.

  • Base Your Focus on Data
    Once you have decided on your broad idea you should try to narrow it down to a specific focus. This should be decided after you’ve looked at the data. Bielefeld explains the following, “The first piece of data to consider would be achievement data. If the plan is to have a “math night,” there should be data to support the need for a focus in this area. The other data that is important is parent feedback, often in the form of a survey.”

  • How to Engage
    Your topic has been chosen. Now you need to decide how exactly you’ll engage parents and get them involved. Consider open discussions, encourage movement and reflection on topics, and have people speak and share ideas on the chosen topic. A lecture simply will not cut it! Make the activity fun and engaging for a successful parental involvement night!

  • Plan, Plan, & Plan Some More!
    Parents are busy, so planning out your parental involvement activity in advance is key. Make sure you share your plans with parents early so they are more likely to attend!

4 Fun Ideas to Boost Parental Involvement

K-12 schools have devised a variety of different parent engagement and family themed nights to get parents through school doors. Below are 4 fun examples from creative schools:

  1. Family Yoga Night
    A school in Virginia has yoga as a part of their curriculum and often encourages students to bring their parents to join them. Attendees bring their own mats or towels to class and enjoy teacher-led stretching and poses. “It’s a great way for kids of all ages and their parents to spend time together in a positive way,” says PTA president Susan Estes.

  2. Wildlife Night
    A Florida elementary school partnered with a nearby local wildlife sanctuary. They brought animals such as snakes, skunks, and even an alligator into school for a live presentation. The students were learning about different habitats, so it fit in well with the curriculum. Plus, is there anything more fun for young kids than seeing animals up close? Parents were invited to join this fun-filled evening.

  3. Rockin’ Through the Decades
    This fun dance party took place at Vine Hill Elementary School in California. Parents and students showed up for an exciting evening and danced away in costumes from their favorite decades to music starting from the 1950s through to the present day. PTO Today suggests asking students and parents to submit song requests in advance to make sure all the favorites are covered!

  4. Annual Cook-Off Event
    A little competition never hurt anybody! A New Hampshire PTA holds an annual Chili Cook-Off competition where students’ parents prepare their favorite chili recipes. The winner takes home a special trophy and keeps it until the following year and then the trophy is passed to the next winner. PTO Today recommends tying this event in with a football game or pep rally theme.

When it comes to planning a fun night and promoting parental involvement, the possibilities are endless! PTO Today has more great ideas if you’re feeling stuck – click here!

At Alert Solutions we understand the importance of parent engagement and keeping parents involved. Communicating with parents throughout the week is a great way to keep them informed of what’s happening at your school. Hosting entertaining parent engagement nights will improve your school’s rapport with parents… and it’s fun!

Check out our Parent Engagement Best Practice Guide for additional tips, tricks, and strategies to kick-start your parental involvement.

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Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, parent engagement, parent communication, student engagement

5 Ways to Promote Student Motivation During the Dark Days of Winter

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 @ 10:02 AM

Some call these long cold days the ‘February Funk’, others refer to them as the ‘Dark Days’ of winter, but we can all agree that the lack of sunlight and warmth definitely puts a damper on your daily motivation. It may make you feel better to know that this feeling is actually a common phenomenon that affects a large population yearly. Commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD (Yes… SAD!), many experience irritability and low energy around this time of the year. 

School Bus

Teachers may begin to notice their students and colleagues are down, and have less of a spring in their steps because of these cold dark days. As an educator, this can make teaching during this lull extremely difficult if your students are lacking any and all motivation. 

Although promoting student motivation is the topic of this blog post, teachers aren’t excluded from these winter blues. As an educator, make sure you’re doing what you can to take care of yourself, and in turn you’ll be taking care of your students.

If you’re not excited to promote student motivation, your students won’t be either. Mother Nature Network shares some ideas to help adults battle seasonal depression, including: taking advantage of daylight, being active, eating healthier foods, and avoiding germs. Teachers are often exposed to a lot of germs in schools, so taking extra precautions during the cold winter months is very important. 

Let’s get back to the excitement of the beginning of the school year with some fun ideas to promote student motivation. We’ve compiled ideas from several K-12 schools that have experienced the dark days themselves, and have made it out happy and ready to seize the day.

5 Ideas to Promote Student Motivation

  1. Switch It Up
    An easy way to engage your students and keep them motivated is to simply switch things up, and allow the unexpected to become the expected! TeachHub tells us that patterns and routines are important and helpful when it comes to student learning. However, “when students begin heavily anticipating what they’ll be doing, part of them goes on “autopilot” and less effort is required from them.” Keep your students on their toes by doing simple changes around the classroom. Reorganize the desks in a new formation and adjust the decorations on the walls to give students the change they need to spark some motivation.

  2. Keep Your Students Moving
    Avoid seeing your students slouching low and being confined at their desks by getting them up and moving throughout the day. Playing games or even group projects that require your students to get up and move around will help motivate the body and mind. Physical movement not only increases student energy, but it also improves performance and mental acuity.

  3. Get Competitive
    There is nothing wrong with a little competition! TeachHub suggests taking ordinary lessons and giving them a gameshow like spin. This will make the lesson both fun and interactive, which will likely engage your students and boost student motivation. “Students love to compete against one another and themselves. If we can harness this motivation to “win” with the objective to “learn,” there are all kinds of possibilities for achievement.”

  4. Let Students Own the Day
    Teachers are the experts on what students should be taught, and what students should know. Try allowing your students to take control of the day, and set the classroom agenda. TeachHub proposes students should be able to “decide on a classroom party or reward day, select the next topic to learn from a provided list, or even bring in their own ideas, possessions, or videos related to the class topic.” This gives the students some control on what they’re learning, which will also promote student motivation and potentially contribute to increased student attendance.

  5. Praise & Positive Reinforcement
    Praising student success is a great way to improve student motivation. Everybody loves being recognized for a job well done, and positive reinforcement is one way to do this. Celebrating even the ‘small’ wins will motivate your students to continue to work toward more classroom successes. You want your students to feel so great in their work that they’ll strive to do better on the next task. Alert Solutions suggests teachers should share praise in messages home to parents. School notification systems like SwiftK12 don’t always need to be used for school safety and emergencies. Simply sending home positive remarks on student work and achievements is a great way to praise your student, but also connect with the parents and keep them engaged as well.

At Alert Solutions, we want all K-12 schools and districts to succeed in motivating today’s students. Share these ideas and remind parents of their child’s hard work with the help of your school notification system.  It’s time to say goodbye to the February Funk with these student motivation tips! Try incorporating these ideas in your classroom to help boost morale and encourage students to enjoy learning during the long, dark winter days.

For more information on SwiftK12, contact us today!

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Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, parent engagement, student engagement

Diversity in Education: The Importance for Today’s Students

Posted by Philip Young on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 @ 10:02 AM

It’s a known fact that a positive school culture directly correlates with student success, which is why including and celebrating diversity in K-12 education is extremely important. Diversity can be defined as the inclusion of different types of people. This includes, but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, culture, and religion. The first step for teachers when introducing diversity in the classroom is to determine how each student is unique.

Diversity in Education Students

Although it may seem straight forward to expect educators to provide students the opportunity to learn about different cultures and languages, there are some growing challenges teachers and administrators face when trying to introduce diversity in school.

The National Education Association explains that academic achievement gaps between students of diverse backgrounds, gender inequalities and sex discrimination, bullying and harassment of students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and respecting students of all religious backgrounds are all murky waters teachers have found difficult to navigate. As these topics are sensitive for many, it is a daunting task to suggest bringing these differences into the classroom. The NEA also states “Institutional hurdles such as high-stakes testing and the lack of resources for "nonessential" subjects make addressing the issue of diversity even more challenging.”

Bringing cultural and sensitive topics into the classroom can give your students a sense of belonging, and this sense of belonging has a domino effect. Excite Education claims “if a student doesn’t feel like they belong, or that they aren’t valued for who they are, they’re less likely to have any interest in being involved in the class.” A student who does not feel included is likely to show a decrease in participation and short attention span, both of which do not lead to academic success. 

How to Promote Diversity in Education

  1. Understand Your Students
    Every student in your classroom is different, which is why understanding each of them as an individual is important. Take time to look at their strengths and weaknesses, personality traits, relationships with other students, and their learning styles. Doing this will show your students that you’re invested in them, and that you care. Like mentioned above, investing your time in getting to know your students will give them a sense of belonging, and in turn they will be present in class and more likely to participate.

  2. Challenge Diversity Stereotypes
    There are a lot of unfair stereotypes out there for several cultural backgrounds. Instead of avoiding the subject all together, consider challenging these stereotypes in a sensitive way. Tes Education states “these topics should not be avoided and evidence suggests that learning to challenge stereotypes in one significant domain (e.g., gender) can also translate to others (e.g., race or religion).” It’s also encouraged to bring in teaching material that represents the rich diversity of the world. Include material that shows many different perspectives and exposes students to a variety of diverse cultures.

  3. Celebrate Diversity & Culture
    Teachers should encourage diversity in education by celebrating each student’s culture and individual diverse background. A simple way to do this is targeted seating plans. Maybe switch up the classroom and promote cooperative learning activities that prompt students to interact with a neighbor they may not speak to often. Another way to promote diversity in school is to have all of your students present and share stories about their family history and heritage. Tes Education suggests trying different kinds of food together, or marking festivals as a class. Your students could showcase their diversity in a picture presentation, play, or even a short movie project. Make it fun, educational and inclusive – and don’t forget to involve parents!

At Alert Solutions we appreciate the hard work teachers put in when educating the students of today. Introducing suggestions on how to include diversity in education is just one way we can help our customers.

For more helpful resources, check out our Education Resource Center for tips, tricks, and strategies!

 Education Resource Center

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, student engagement, school culture, school climate

Let's Chat: Improve Parental Involvement With These 4 Communication Tips

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Jan 15, 2019 @ 11:01 AM

Whether it’s eating better, exercising more, or any other resolution, most people have that ‘fresh start’ mentality when a new year approaches.

Parent Teacher Meeting - Parental Involvement

As an educator, you want the best for all of your students. In 2019, consider applying a new approach to improved parental involvement in education.

Dinner Table MBA reminds us that education is more than what happens inside the four walls of a classroom. Unfortunately, “more than 80 percent of new teachers feel that parental support and involvement is the most challenging area they face; parents are either unwilling or don’t have the time to participate in their child’s education.” 

Encouraging communication and parental involvement has incredible benefits for a student; the tricky part is getting all parents on board.

Why is Parental Involvement Important in K-12 Education?

  • Students Perform Better in School
    According to PTO Today, students have been shown to earn better grades and higher test scores, attend school more regularly, and pass their classes.

  • Students Show Improved Behavior & Positive Attitudes
    Studies show “children with involved parents have enhanced skills for regulating emotions and feel negative emotions less often”. For example, children with involved parents have lower rates of substance use and delinquent acts compared to kids whose parents are uninvolved. Keeping parents engaged not only helps within the classroom, but also outside of the classroom in day-to-day living.

  • Students Have Enhanced Social Skills
    Parental involvement has been shown to encourage students to interact with other students. Improved social skills in children leads to better academic outcomes.

It’s clear there are many benefits to parental involvement. It’s time to implement communication skills at your K-12 school to keep the conversation between teachers and parents going.  

Four Communication Tips to Improve Parental Involvement

  1. Set Your Expectations
    When communicating with parents initially, you want to make sure they know what you expect from your classroom. Making this clear from the get-go will prevent miscommunication. “Research has shown that parental expectations are one of the strongest predictors of student achievement. Your parent-teacher communication plan should be designed to set clear, consistent and high expectations for student performance in class.”

  2. Identify Parent Preferred Communication Methods
    Not everybody checks their email daily, or wants to receive weekly phone calls home from teachers. Letting parents choose their preferred communication method increases the chance of them responding and staying up-to-date on important information. Implementing a school notification system like SwiftK12 allows parents to choose their preferred communication method, which drastically improves message delivery.

  3. Share Communication About the Entire Classroom
    Consider weekly communication at the classroom level. This will let parents know that you as a teacher are responsible for more than just their child. TeachHub states, “Setting this context will help parents see your point of view when and/if you need to make a decision that is best for the group, but which might not be ideal for each individual student.”

  4. Measure Parental Involvement Success
    It’s important to keep track of whether parents are staying engaged, or if a change should happen to ensure that they do. Keep the following questions in mind: Are your school communications getting parents involved? Do parents show up to parent-teacher events and meetings? If the answers are no, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Here are some fun tips from one of our past blog posts on improving parental involvement:
    • Bring Your Parents to School Day
    • Celebrate Cultures Day
    • Create Family-Oriented Video Competitions
    • Present Annual Awards

It’s never too late to get started! Alert Solutions works with many K-12 schools and districts on their parental involvement strategies to improve overall engagement.

For more tips, tricks, and strategies, check out our best practice guide today!

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Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, parent engagement, parent communication, student engagement

4 Ways to Make November the BEST Parent Involvement Month Yet

Posted by Nina Caliri on Mon, Nov 12, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

Motivating parents to stay actively involved in their children’s education isn’t always easy for teachers and school administrators. But parent involvement is vitally important for our students, which is why our nation celebrates National Parent Involvement Month each November.

Parent Involvement in School

Research over the past 30 years confirms that students whose parents take an active interest in their education gain multiple advantages.

According to PTO Today, they’re more likely to earn better grades; score higher on tests; pass their classes; attend school regularly; have better social skills; show improved behavior; display more positive attitudes toward school; complete homework assignments; graduate and continue their educations.

If your k-12 school is striving for better parent involvement, consider the following ideas aimed at celebrating parents this month: 

  1. Bring Your Parents to School Day
    Schedule this event at a time convenient to your parents or participate in the national day of observance – Tuesday, November 13th. The goal is to draw parents into a hands-on experience representing a typical day in the life of their child at school, helping them understand his or her daily routines, joys and challenges.
  1. Celebrating Cultures Day
    During these events, families and/or community members often set up booths, displays and activities that encourage parent involvement by showcasing the cultures represented in a given student body. School staffers’ ability to understand different cultural traditions is increasingly important in light of changing demographics; one in five U.S. students now speaks a language besides English at home. 

BONUS TIP: One tool that can help enormously in communicating with your non-English-speaking families is SwiftK12 - our school notification system offers automatic voice and text translations. 

  1. Family-Oriented Video Competitions
    Offering all-school contests can be a great way to interest families in school events, activities and goals. Build parent involvement by offering an annual video contest asking parents to plan and create short films about their school activities, or a competition in which students share stories about a parent, guardian, family member or mentor who encouraged their school success.

  2. Annual Awards
    Another idea for building parent involvement in education is honoring different families each year for their school engagement. For example, you could bestow a "Best Social Media Engagement by Parents Award" to recognize those who frequently and/or creatively interact with your school’s social media presence.

Alert Solutions has many other ideas for boosting parent involvement at your k-12 school to help your students perform better and success.

Download our Parent Engagement Strategy Guide for details.

Education Resource Center

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, parent engagement, student engagement

School’s Out! 6 Sizzling Summer Learning Activities

Posted by Tara Gibson on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 @ 14:06 PM

While summer vacation has traditionally been a time of rest and relaxation for American kids, that doesn’t mean they can’t indulge in a little summer learning over these beautiful, balmy few months too.  

In fact, continuing to learn over the summer can be important to a child’s ability to retain information. Kids who fail to actively engage their brains over that time period are often subject to the dreaded “Summer Slide” in which they forget information they’ve already learned.

Summer Learning

One Brookings Institute study found the average American student loses the equivalent of a month’s worth of education during summer vacation.

One factor that can help? Parent involvement. To encourage that, savvy teachers and school administrators can use a mass notification system like SwiftK12 to offer parents suggestions for fun lessons that celebrate summer learning all season long.

If you’re a conscientious teacher wishing promote summer learning and encourage parent involvement, here are a few ideas:

  • Read up on fun games kids can enjoy during long car rides; see suggestions at Scholastic.com.  
  • Have students pick out fun library books they can read or have read to them. Regional libraries often offer appealing summer reading programs complete with prizes and rewards, or you can create your own neighborhood book club in which different books are discussed.
  • Collaborate with other parents to trade off time slots and get “more bang for your buck” by organizing educational experiences or field trips that include multiple children.
  • Create child-friendly science experiments involving nature; here are ideas from EducationWorld.com involving bugs.
  • Provide your child a budget for a summer cookout, then let him plan the menu, buy the ingredients and prepare some of the foods.
  • Challenge your child to design an invention (on paper or in 3D) that would be useful during the summertime, such as a hot-weather garment or a new beach toy.

Learn more ways parents can encourage at-home summer learning on Alert Solutions’ blog.

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Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement, student engagement, summer learning loss

Boosting Student Engagement Through Extra-Curricular Activities

Posted by Tara Gibson on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

Sure, signing your student up for extracurricular activities can mean a dedication of your time, money and energy as a parent. After all, someone has to pay for their equipment and supplies, support them in their goals and provide (or fund) regular transportation to and from practices and competitions.

That said, your child’s participation in extracurricular activities can produce huge benefits. Studies show it can boost student engagement, strengthen their attachment to school, decrease the likelihood of failure or dropping out, improve school attendance and even improve their social standing among his peers.

K-12-2.jpg

“There is so much pressure on students, especially in secondary schools, to perform well in their exams and attain high grades,” argues Nicole Jackson on TheEducator.com. “The problem comes in when students have no life outside their classrooms; when all they do and think about is their books. They become zombies whose world revolves around books, with no room for their development as human beings.”

Consider these ways in which extracurricular activities can boost student engagement and benefit your child:

  • Better Academic Performance. One study by the U.S. Department of Education determined students participating in extracurricular activities are three times more likely to achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher than non-participants, an effect possibly linked to better organization and time management.

  • Different Friends. An extracurricular activity may offer your child their first chance to connect with people who are there because they share a specific interest. Either way, their cohorts should represent a different point of view from the status quo.

  • New Experiences. We all need to try new things throughout our lives to refresh our creativity, expand our horizons and narrow down the kinds of activities we find most rewarding. Your child may even discover lifelong passions and hobbies.

  • Better Time Management. Juggling academic and extracurricular activities and responsibilities teaches time allotment skills and may reduce procrastination.

  • New and Useful Skills. Extracurricular activities often provide excellent opportunities to brush up on teamwork, social, critical thinking and leadership skills in settings less pressure-filled than school.

  • Commitment. Whether part of a team or going it alone, signing up for an extracurricular activity requires your student to follow through and give their all to a project or competition. In life, that’s called integrity.

  • Sense of Responsibility. Committing to a team or project and realizing they will play a part in its success or lack thereof, may give your child a sense of accountability they may transfer to other areas of their life.

Alert Solutions’ school notification systems can help promote student engagement by providing students, teachers, parents and coaches with timely reminders about their extracurricular events. Learn more by calling 800-929-1643 and selecting Option 2.

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Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, student engagement

3 Ways to Enhance Parent Communication at a Multi-Cultural School

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

During the 2014-2015 school year, an estimated 4.6 million public school students were considered English language learners (ELL). This statistic is higher than 2004 figures which identified about 4.3 million ELL students.

With more ELL students entering the US public school system, school administrators are facing two challenges: communicating with students and communicating with their parents.

After all, non-English-speaking families want to know how their child is doing academically, emotionally, and socially, too. To help, we’ve compiled 3 three ways to enhance parent communication in a multi-cultural environment:

1. Integrate ELL Cultural Traditions Throughout the School Community
Becoming familiar with the cultural traditions of the ELL families in your school community enhances your ability to create a welcoming and respectful school climate. Learning about your students' traditions may help avoid miscommunication or cultural mistakes that can damage the parent-teacher relationship.

2. Look for Ways ELL Parents Can Help with Student Homeworkmulti-languagetranslation.bmp
ELL parents may feel intimidated by homework, especially if they have limited English skills. Look for ideas that you can share with parents about supporting their child, including:

  • Asking Their Child About Their School Day 
  • Keeping Regular Contact with Teachers
  • Ensuring Their Child’s Homework Is Completed 

3. Implement a School Notification System
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minorities will become the majority of children under 18 by 2023.Tried-and-true school communication methods, such as fliers and newsletters aren’t reaching all parents anymore. School notification systems are a great tool to help manage this demographic shift. School notification systems with multi-language translation help streamline parent communication and keep non-English speaking families informed.

As the world grows more interconnected and diverse, schools will need to adapt their parent communication styles to stay connected with their entire school community.

Parent Engagement Strategy Guide Tips & Tricks Here!

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement, parent communication, student engagement

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