JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Back to school can be a fun time for a lot of students, but it can also be a scary time for the little ones who have never gone to school before. Rest assured, staff at JPS are here to help.
WNY News Now spoke with JPS Assistant Superintendent For Instruction, Tina Sandstrom and the Principal at Bush Elementary School, Kate Benson who let parents and students know that they’re not alone, and offer advice for adjusting to a school setting.
The very beginning of the school year for students attending Bush Elementary will consist of learning routines and working on relationship building.
“Our first half day will be very much focused on relationship building, coming in and getting settled into the classroom, meeting our classmates, getting to know you and starting to build that relationship with the classroom teacher and the classroom culture,” said Benson. “The beginning of every school year for our elementary students is highly focused on relationship building and building our classroom community. We spend a lot of time getting settled in, dealing with any kinks in our schedule, letting students know what’s happening next, where they will eat lunch and at what time, when they’ll get to go to their special area classes, so we do a lot of our focus on routines, practicing procedures, and getting to know everybody so that we can feel really comfortable and safe in our learning environment.”
Benson offers some advice to parents who have students starting school for the first time this September.
“For our incoming students that haven’t experienced a school setting before, the advice I would give to all families is practicing good bedtime routines, and any routine in general. Students really thrive when they know what to expect next. For example, if our bedtime routine is always a bath, a book, brushing our teeth, and going to bed, and it’s always the same even if I have to start it 30 minutes earlier or later depending on our family’s schedule, it creates that level of comfort that I know what’s going to happen next,” Benson explained.
Of course, we can’t forget about our older students.
“As we prepare for a new school year, whatever grade your child is in, there are a lot of ways that we can get our children ready to come back to school. If you’re an upper level elementary student, if you’re a middle school student or a high school student, Mrs. Benson already talked about routines and procedures for our littles, but we still have routines and procedures that we want our students to get back into after a long summer of maybe staying up late and not getting to bed in time or not being used to the routines of homework and assignments that might come home with students so parents talking to their children and setting up those routines and procedures are really important,” explained Sandstrom.
Sandstrom gives some examples of helpful routines that will set your scholar on the path to success.
“If you have a middle schooler or high school student setting those guidelines for their use of social media or how long they’re on their phones and making sure that they’re getting to bed at night and making sure that they have the tools to do their homework or their assignments and checking in with them, especially some of our students at that age are juggling a lot of activities that they’re in, whether they’re in music or sports or lots of extracurricular activities so we want to help them prepare for the school year and transition their schedules so that they can get started off on the right foot and really enjoy the whole picture of school and not just the academic learning day but all the other activities that they’re involved in,” said Sandstrom.
In the end, despite what grade your student is in, establishing a strong line of communication is the key according to staff.
“It’s really important to reach out to teachers and I think sometimes we think that we just do that with our younger students in elementary but when our children are in middle school and high school we still wanna make sure that we are communicating with our families and our families are communicating with the schools, because our kids are still learning just at a different level. If you have a high school students and they’re taking courses at the high school level, as a parent you want to know what those courses are and what they mean towards credits towards graduation so knowing what courses they’re taking and what track they’re on towards graduating and staying up on that is really important,” Sandstrom explained.