As the person who has the responsibility of helping students make the transition from middle school to high school, Merri Jo Pape has learned that “parents have an important role to play.” An administrator at Edison High School in Fairfax County, Va., she offers some suggestions for parents to help their teens get the most out of that first year—and the ones that follow.
Attend orientation. You’ll have an opportunity to meet your child’s counselor and perhaps many of his teachers, as well.
Help your teen learn time management. High school teachers are likely to give long-term projects. Teens need to learn how they can manage their time to meet their responsibilities for six or seven classes.
Encourage your teen to get involved in at least one non-classroom activity. “We have found that students who are in at least one extracurricular activity have better attendance and better grades,” Pape says.
Get involved yourself. “There are so many things a parent can do to make the high school a more exciting place,” Pape says. Sell popcorn at a football game. Answer the phone in the office. Help the school maintain a website. Whatever you do, you’ll be playing a role in your teen’s education.
Don’t always believe what your teen—or his friends—tell you. “Teens are not above trying to convince their parents that they are the only one in the world with a curfew,” Pape says. “By calling another parent, you’re likely to find that your rules are not so unusual.”
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