Parent Teacher Partnership

parent teacher crossword Although there are only a few months left in the school year, it is never too late to foster a partnership between parents and teachers. Parent-teacher partnership refers to parents and teachers working collaboratively together to enhance student achievement and to ensure student success. One of the most frustrating trends in schools is how the level of parental involvement decreases as a child’s age increases.  It is an extremely discouraging fact because children of all ages would benefit if their parents would stay involved.  Parent-teacher partnerships and relationships are essential, no matter how old the student. The relationship between parents and teachers remains as important for high school students as it is for middle and elementary school students. There are many benefits to a parent-teacher partnership:

  • When parents and teachers work together it sends a clear, consistent, and positive message to students that school is important, that learning is important and that achievement is expected.
  • Parent involvement can free teachers to focus more on the task of teaching children. By having more contact with parents, teachers learn more about students’ needs and home environment.  Teacher morale is also improved by having parents who are involved.
  • Research proves that parent involvement benefits students by raising their academic achievement, increases motivation for learning, improves behavior, and promotes a positive attitude towards school in general.

An important aspect of building this relationship includes a teacher’s understanding of a parent’s perspective. Having a better understanding of the families’ work demands, needs of other children and individual beliefs and goals for educational success help educators determine the best way to engage and communicate with parents.

Family and school represent the primary environments in which young children grow and develop, and good schools value parental involvement. The foundation for good parent-teacher relationships is frequent and open communication, mutual respect and a clear understanding of what is best for each individual child.

Share your thoughts on how to enhance the parent-teacher relationship in the comment box below.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and our programs please follow www.turningstonechoice.com.

All Hands In – Cooperation

All Hands In
We aren’t seeing stellar examples of cooperation these days. Think government shut down and reality TV dramas. In a society that exalts the best of the best and drools over dog- eat- dog scenarios, cooperative behavior is hardly ever acknowledged or seldom encouraged. It is quite easy to get caught up in a spirit of competition and righteousness. There is nothing like the feeling of being right. It can give us a sense of pride yet open the ugly door to boast, “I told you so, and in your face!” Sometimes, being right is a matter of life and death, like getting the right diagnosis for serious disease like breast cancer. Other times, being right isn’t about anything but our stubborn nature and feeling justified. While stuck in our righteousness, oversights to solutions keep us from moving forward. We should consider if our position is helping to solve the conflict or causing more damage and whether or not the issue at hand is important enough for us to dig our feet into the ground over it. Sometimes, we get so bogged down by the right answers on tests, the right questions to ask, and the right choices to make in life that we ignore relationships with others in the name of being correct or justified. We stomp all over cooperative efforts because, “I’m right, and you are wrong,” is prevailing. Getting all tied up in a competitive moment, we miss the interdependent dynamic that serves everyone. Life is not always right and wrong, win or lose. Most situations in life require cooperation to get the job done. Can you imagine the disaster if all of the individuals working to fight breast cancer held to their own beliefs that they were right and everyone else who put forth a differing position was wrong? I’m sure it took multiple people with a variety of skills, knowledge, and scientific opinions to bring about the strides in research and treatment available today. We all possess something unique to offer, but can we forgo the temporary pleasure of being bona fide and consider the amazing outcome when all hands are in?

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Wonderful Kids – How Do We Get There?

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While enjoying an article on best practices for teaching, I immediately correlated some of the questions teachers were asked to contemplate to parents also. One question stood out to me: Are my actions bringing a child closer or farther away from educational opportunity? Now how about parents? This question is unique in that there is no single goal set in stone for us to consider. Teachers, your job is crazy tough, but the goal is as clear as glass even when it has children’s smudges all over it – educate. Aside from keeping my children alive, you may laugh but they often make this difficult, there are lists of goals that continue to grow and change and change again. We may want to help our children develop respect for others or self-discipline. But, can you remember when the goal was to get them to roll over or conquer potty training? So, the question is, are my actions bringing my child(ren) closer or father away from (insert goal)? An even greater question to chew on is, have we even considered goals for our children and shared those destinations with our kids? I have a good friend who takes an entire weekend away from the normal distractions of work and family life and develops plans for each of her children and reviews the plan from last year. Never looking to create the “perfect child” but to take time to really think and help that child in the way they are bent. Initially, I thought this was a wonderful but not entirely necessary idea. Until it became clear that she and her husband were being intentional parents, not willing to risk raising their children to chance. I know every parent wants to raise children who are all wonderful inside and out but have we examined how to get there?

We all need a little help in becoming the parent we want to be. TURNING STONEchoice is sponsoring a parent workshop series beginning October 16th in Mt. Laurel, NJ. For additional information and registration please follow this link http://www.turningstonechoice.com and hope to see you there.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Be that Teacher!

Wise Teacher
I’ve had some marvelous teachers throughout my educational journey, and I’ve had some that were unmemorable. Mr. Gange is #1 on the amazing list. He brought chemistry to life for me in 8th grade with Table of Elements game style quizzes and team challenges. Everyone in class could break down a chemical formula with confidence and ease, even Todd*, the student who refused to make eye contact or talk to a single teacher. I never had a teacher like Mr. G before or since. Students loved him for being original and thoughtful, and I appreciated him for giving me a lesson on human potential.
According to my shallow 8th grade girl perception, Todd must have been lacking intellectually. Everyone for years could see his red F(s) or the discreet manner teachers would fold his quizzes and exams, as if to whisper loudly, “I will spare you the embarrassment.” He never really spoke much but seemed to scream with his whole being, “I hate school!” No one messed with him. He had physical power and talent unparalleled in gym class and at the neighborhood basketball courts. As wonderful fun Mr. G’s class was, and how to this day I have a love of science, it was the transformation of Todd in Mr. G’s class that taught me something profound. I will never forget the first time Todd spoke in class to answer a question. I think the moment froze because we could not believe he had raised his hand and then answered correctly. Instead of oozing praise all over him, Mr. G gave him a quick, “correct” and moved on. Hindsight tells me, Mr. G was doing internal back flips because he just reached the unreachable. A wonderful beginning occurred that day. Todd came alive in Mr. G’s class. He smiled; he participated and became a contributing team member. I charge Todd’s metamorphosis to the man, Mr. G, himself, a gifted teacher who brought enthusiasm and joy to the process of learning. I learned my basic chemistry but witnessed a human’s potential rise. I am grateful for the experience in knowledge and will never forget Todd’s smile while learning.
I encourage you to be that teacher this year! The one who can reach the unreachable. You may never know what other students you bring along the way. Share the encouragement with others and good luck with the new school year.

*Todd is an alias.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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Empowering Choices Powering Lives

Empowering Choices Powering Lives

Bullying reports will go down when a prevention model is in place. The TURNING STONEchoice character education program will empower students to feel confident and to stand up. Bergen County teacher states. “In my classroom, I have seen most of my students empowered to be able to handle conflicts on their own. In most cases handle the conflict in a positive manner. I have also seen impulsive students really control some of their reactions. A huge benefit is that it empowers my quiet students to be assertive and share their feelings instead of keeping them bottled up. The climate in my classroom has become very positive and I feel a choice-making model truly helps us maintain our positive climate.”

Suggested Reading & Review – The Other Wes Moore

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The Other Wes Moore is a riveting, true story of two lives, one name and the diverging paths that led one to prison for life and the other a Rhodes Scholar. The author examines the overwhelming similarities between two boys: both living in the same poverty stricken neighborhood in Baltimore, both fatherless, both coping with a violent and drug saturated environment and both having run-ins with police at an early age. Among the themes the book presents with detailed examples and honest questions are: the impact of educational opportunity, family influence, expectations, personal choices, and support.
The book is currently used as common reads for incoming freshmen at colleges and universities but is also an accessible read for middle school and high school students who may be impacted by this book. Moore, the author shares in the afterword, “I will never forget the letter I received from a fifteen-year-old young man from Baltimore who has already spent part of his young life in juvenile detention. He said this was the first book he had ever read cover to cover, and after reading it he was forced to think about the type of man he wants to be, for himself and his family.”
A must read for educators, parents and students who need to look beyond the circumstances of life and expect and envision a possible future ahead. Excellent resources are built into the back of the book with a list of over 200 organizations that help young people through their journeys and questions to consider after the read. Here is one for you to consider. The author says to the other Wes, “I guess it’s hard sometimes to distinguish between second chances and last chances.” What do you think he means?

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Happy Father’s Day

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As I reflect on this coming Father’s Day and help my children plan daddy’s special day, it hit me like a ton of bricks that every single childhood friend I had, at their age, never had fathers in their lives. I wasn’t Miss little popularity but I had a decent amount of friends and I never gave much thought to how many of them did the weekend juggle. Selfishly, I wanted them to stay home to play and sadly, most of them did for one reason or another.
The celebration of fathers can be difficult if not painful for many, depending on where you had to place the man who helped bring you into this world. It is for this reason we should encourage and honor the men who are present day in and out, the men working two jobs to put food on the table, dads who fight for any time with their child, dads who brush little teeth and the empty spaces in between, men who coach sports they never knew how to play, men willing to wear silly hats to tea parties with dolls, the imperfect fathers who share their love and for the ones who have broken the cycle of fatherlessness.
Gentlemen, you are appreciated beyond what you can imagine and there is an understanding that parenthood can be frustrating. Yet, you have chosen to be a father and may your journey of fatherhood be filled with great joy. Pass this along, and honor the men in your life with encouragement. Happy Father’s Day!

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice