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Success in class starts at home, says school counselors

Success in class starts at home, says school counselors

Rest, breakfast focus students’ mind

Today marks the beginning of American Education Week. Charles City teachers work hard to present their students with exciting learning opportunities. However, learning is a two way street. Students need to be prepared to accept and receive the information that is being discussed.

A student’s job is to be ready to learn each and everyday. Just as an adult needs to make sure they are prepared for their work day, a student needs to be prepared for school.

Charles City Community School District guidance counselors Pat Rottinghaus, Nina Coulson, Sandy Thomson and Heather Wilson agree student preparation goes beyond having homework completed on time.

“Homework is at the bottom of the list,” Wilson, middle school counselor, said. “Are you rested, are you fed, are you clean — then are you prepared?”

Counselors agreed many behavioral and concentration related problems are linked to the amount of sleep a student receives. “Students need eight to 10 hours of sleep,” Rottinghaus, high school counselor, said. Students in the elementary grades need even more sleep and should average closer to 10 to 12 hours of sleep.

When problems occur because of a lack of rest, Thomson, Lincoln Elementary counselor, asks her students they why didn’t sleep well. Reasons will often include home related disputes between siblings or parents.

“Make sure disagreements are resolved,” Coulson, Washington Elementary counselor, said.

When students have arguments with the brothers and sisters or parents it weighs on their minds. If not resolved before going to bed students can lose sleep. If not resolved before coming to school, students remain worried about the events happening at home instead of being able to concentrate on learning. Wilson agreed, encouraging parents to ensure their students are mentally ready to learn.

Besides rest, having a good breakfast is very important.

“Something with protein, that sticks with them,” Rottinghaus said.

According to Wilson, one of the first questions she asks when she has an upset student is “did you have breakfast?” In order for a student to perform well in their classes, their body needs to be properly fueled.

Rottinghaus suggests altering the morning schedule by about 15 minutes to enable time for breakfast and to avoid the stress of rushing. All four counselors recommend students and parents take advantage of the CCCSD breakfast program if a balanced breakfast at home can’t be eaten.

“It’s a pretty good breakfast,” Thomson said.

In some of the schools when students arrive late they are able to grab a ‘to-go’ breakfast that they can eat at their desks.

Finally, counselors recommend that parents go through the school day with their child to help them be academically prepared.

“Ask them to ‘tell me a good thing about your day,’” Coulson said. Parents should go through their student’s folders, backpacks, planners and the ed-modo app, for high schoolers, to be sure assignments aren’t being forgotten.

It is also important that parents show a positive attitude toward school.

“Students reflect parents’ attitude about school,” Wilson said.

“Parents should not assume school is how it was,” Rottinghaus said. Though a parent may not have enjoyed their school years, their child is not living the same experience.

Be sure they are rested, fed, emotionally calm and ready to start each day with a positive attitude.

By Amie Johansen [email protected]

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