Published in the August 8 – 21, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life
By Melanie Corona
The beginning of the school year is upon us — and there is excitement in the air! Preparations are being made as families ready their children to join their classmates on campus beginning Aug. 16. Teachers and staff are looking forward to meeting their new students and our school community is excited to begin the journey of another year full of academic achievement, life lessons, new friends and more. As we move into the 2018-’19 school year, it is so important for parents, students and supporting family and friends to remember that learning at school, both academic and social, begins the very first day of school, and we want all Gilroy Unified School District students to be there from day one.
Research shows regular school attendance is vital to high student achievement and academic confidence. It is crucial each of our students attend school regularly. The first few days of school are imperative to student success — it is in the first days of a new school year that classroom routines are established, teacher expectations are communicated and connections between classmates and friends are solidified. When a child misses the first days of school, they begin the year at a disadvantage.
Superintendent Dr. Deborah Flores reminds us that, “The negative academic consequences of missing school are significant. It is imperative that parents, families and the entire community understand how essential regular school attendance is for student success and that we work together to get all students to school. Establishing that regular school attendance is a vital component to student success begins with being there on the first day.”
As you begin preparations for the start of the new school year, talk with your children about what to expect during those first few days of school. Help them anticipate what awaits them, and help them remember all the opportunities a new school year offers:
- Remind them that their classmates might be nervous to begin the school year just like them.
- Encourage them to identify students who are new to their school and be a friendly face and helping hand.
- Tell them their teachers are excited to meet them.
- Help them look forward to spirit days, fun games at recess, and other events specific to their school site.
- Remind them their old friends will be there and new friends, waiting to be discovered, will be too.
- For older students, it might be helpful to route their school day according to their class schedule using a campus map, and then practice that route on campus prior to Aug. 16.
- Help your student pick out a special outfit or hairstyle for the first day of school or a special snack to be included in their lunchbox.
- Communicate about specific routines that will impact their school days, including how and when they’ll be picked up from campus.
On Aug. 15, help your student by:
- Checking your school’s website for current bell schedules.
- Verifying the proper start and end times for the school day.
- Setting intentions or goals for the new school year.
- Laying out clothes and packing backpacks the night before.
- Ensuring students know who their teachers are or what their schedule will be.
- Notifying teachers and counselors if your student feels anxious about going to school.
- Reviewing the plan for the first day of school.
GUSD provides a variety of support in order to ensure students are attending school regularly and ready to learn. For more information, contact your child’s school site for resources. We are eager to see you on campus, on Thursday, Aug. 16, ready to learn and excited for the great year ahead.
Melanie Corona is the public information officer for Gilroy Unified School District.
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