Fresno and Merced Unified students got back to class today, while Clovis unified will head back to school on Monday. It can be hard to get kids back into the routine after a summer of lounging around.
Dr. Michele Cantwell-Copher, Educational Leadership and Development Administrator with the Fresno County Office of Education, joined us on Sunrise this morning with some back to school tips for parents.
DR. COPHER: "Probably the message we'd like to share this year is that every single child starting school this year is experiencing a transition. Lots of years we focus on our kiddos starting kindergarten or high school, but every single student is starting a new routine. All of it needs to be routine to them. So orienting your student to their new setting, to their new teacher, their new system, to their new familiar setting is all a very important role that a parent can play to help de-stress and help their student with the new school year."
GEORGE: "Now I get excited about modern technology. The kids are probably more advanced than me with all this stuff like tablets and smartboards and things like that. Does that really help out to get the kids excited for the school year, the technology they have available?"
DR. COPHER: "It does. I'm sure you've heard that people like us are digital dinosaurs and our children are digital natives. In fact, this year is very exciting for them because many of them will have tablets available to them in their school setting, many of them will even get to take them home and own them, and so to a parent it may sound absurd to allow a student to play with their tablet but it's a very important part of that orientation process. Because they're native to the digital world, being able to take pictures of their buddy or their dog and put it as a screen saver, putting music on their tablet if it's permitted all of those are opportunities for a child to become familiar with that tool. That tablet will become a very important part of their learning process and it's somewhat new as well so we as parents need to help out students get comfortable with it."
GEORGE: "Kids can sometimes teach the parents."
CARINA: "Oh yeah, my 5-year-old has taught me plenty and especially my mother, grandma, taught her plenty on the smartphones and the tablets. So we have making sure they're prepared, excited about the school year, tablets, what else is new for the districts this year?"
DR. COPHER: "There are lots of things new for education across the state and even the federal landscape. Here locally in Fresno we have something very exciting happening with five school districts over the past two years have been engaging in learning together about birth through third grade continuum. That concept being that children really need to have been supported by their community before they enter kindergarten so that they're ready to learn in kindergarten and ready to be successfully reading by grade level in third grade. Five of our districts are engaged in hiring 'B3' coordinators, engaging their preschool partners, talking to partners at Head Start in the federal support programs about making sure children are well prepared to be successful in kindergarten. Things like being well-cared for healthwise, having nutrition systems in place for support, just making sure they have a great start before they enter kindergarten and that's been a very exciting opportunity for us."
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