Pinellas educators’ tips for success to parents and students


PINELLAS COUNTY — Make no mistake about it — educators care! Of course, there are some exceptions, but must we make the exceptions the rule? Parents also care. Some may not have the academic competence to assist their kids, but they care nonetheless.

Given that there are caring parents and caring educators, why aren’t we achieving the desired outcomes? It may be partly because we have not dispensed with pointing the adversarial finger of blame and began to engage in more collaborative behaviors.

The 2023-24 school year in our district will begin on Aug. 10. Given this inevitability and the impending challenges facing educators, I reached out to some in the district and posed the following question: “What would you recommend to a group of parents/students who asked: ‘How can we assist you?’”

I am pleased to report that all responded immediately, willingly and without reservation. These educators are eager to work collaboratively with parents to ensure scholars receive the best services possible. Educators, for the purpose of this article, mean principals, counselors, teachers and other frontline personnel involved in the educational enterprise.

As you know, I am never hesitant to point out district deficiencies; however, it is time for parents, scholars and the community to do more as well. Please take a moment to review the recommendations offered by the educators and govern yourselves accordingly.

Some of these tips are reported exactly as submitted, given they encompass all of the educators’ recommendations. Parents and scholars, PLEASE review and comply with the following:

Parental tips

  • Please make sure contact information, cell, and email are updated in FOCUS. Also, please make sure emergency contacts are up to date.
  • Check your child’s school’s websites for information on uniforms, meetings, and activities.
  • Ensure that your student is ready to learn each day. Students should wake up daily, get dressed in compliance with school uniform/dress codes, gather materials and be mentally prepared for a day of active learning. A nutritious breakfast is also a must.
  • Attend meetings/school events with your student so they see there is a bridge between family and school. Partnerships between the two are crucial for success.
  • Check grades in FOCUS regularly. If there are any questions, email the teacher immediately. Prolonged problems create failures at the end of a grading period.
  • Be cordial when communicating with school staff. Screaming and using profanity will not get better and faster service.
  • Talk to the principal, not Facebook, when an issue arises. Principals genuinely care about your student and will usually greatly assist in remedying situations. Contact the area office if you feel your issue is not being addressed.
  • Set and monitor expectations for your student. They will only do what you expect of them. And, if they’re not meeting expectations, work with school staff to get students back on track. Making excuses does not create a successful student.
  • Please ensure your child enjoys plenty of rest and sleep, giving them the perfect opportunity to shine during the school day. Ample rest boosts their concentration, learning abilities, and problem-solving skills, helping them reach their full potential.
  • Stay actively involved in your child’s education and contact their teacher if you have any concerns. By maintaining direct communication with teachers and school staff, you can stay well-informed about your child’s progress, avoiding any miscommunication or missed messages.
  • Engage your child in conversations about their school day, encouraging them to share their experiences. By fostering open communication, you demonstrate your genuine interest in their life, and discussing the high and low points of each day can make these conversations even more meaningful.
  • Cultivate a positive atmosphere by refraining from speaking negatively about your child’s teacher or the school in their presence. This will help foster a supportive environment, reinforcing positive behavior and motivating them to excel academically. If there is a concern, please contact the school to ensure problems are handled.
  • Offer your assistance and check your child’s homework regularly. Being actively involved ensures they stay on track and confidently complete their assignments.
  • Never be ashamed or afraid to inform your child’s teacher if you are not capable of assisting with homework assignments. Teaching methods and techniques have changed and may not be easily comprehended. Ask where you can get assistance.
  • Motivate your child through a rewards and consequences plan. Set up exciting incentives for good behavior and stick to clear consequences for negative behavior. By communicating these expectations clearly in advance, you empower your child to make positive choices.
  • Celebrate every achievement, no matter how small, to keep your child motivated and inspired to excel in all areas of their life. Recognizing their efforts reinforces their self-esteem and encourages them to strive for even greater success.
  • Engage in extracurricular activities. Encourage your child to explore their interests outside the classroom, enhancing their overall development.

Daily attendance is essential. Students must be at school daily to ensure they stay on pace and receive the needed instruction for the benchmarks. Daily attendance requires students to arrive on time and attend every class period.

Ask questions: Parents and students should ask questions regarding their performance. Always voice your needs. It is never too early to ask questions. Advocate for your child and inform the school officials of your needs to ensure collaboration and support. Courtesy and respect garner courtesy and respect in return.

Maximize the resources/supports: An abundance of free resources/supports are offered. Please take advantage of them. For example, free online tutoring, paid internships, mentors, extended learning programs, community resources and virtual platforms are offered free of charge.

Preparation: Make sure your child comes to school with their school supplies daily. Most schools will provide all school supplies free of cost. It is important for students to come with their materials ready to learn. In addition, every Pinellas County student is provided with a laptop. They should bring it to school daily.

Monitor your child’s social media activity. Social media can be a source of negative influence and information. Watch for community disagreements that may be the source of school disruptions.

Finally, be in your scholar’s business. Know their friends, where they are going, and, as much as possible, what they are doing.

Student tips

  • Prioritize time management. Create a study schedule and allocate time for both academic and extracurricular activities.
  • Stay organized. Use tools like planners/agendas or digital apps to keep track of assignments, projects, and important dates.
  • Actively participate in class. Engage with teachers and classmates, ask questions, and contribute to discussions.
  • Seek help when needed. Don’t hesitate to ask teachers, parents, or peers for assistance if you’re struggling with a subject or topic.
  • Take care of your well-being. Get enough rest, eat healthily, and stay physically active to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
  • Review and revise regularly. Instead of cramming, review your lessons consistently to reinforce your understanding.
  • Stay positive and persistent. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow and maintain a positive attitude towards your studies.
  • Devise a plan for post-secondary existence: college, vocational college, armed services, workforce. Then think of how high school can assist in putting that plan in motion.
  • Be a good role model, and avoid following the crowd. Be the leader the situation demands.
  • Be ready each day for active learning! Get dressed, gather materials and walk into class ready to engage. Put the cell phone and earbuds in your backpack until you leave school for the day.
  • Be respectful of others. You may not always agree with others, but there is a way to communicate your opinion without causing conflict. Never solve a problem by fighting; it only causes more problems. Use acceptable language; profanity is not appropriate.
  • Be responsible. Bring your materials, participate in class, complete assignments, study for tests, get to class on time. Ask for assistance when you can’t find the solution on your own.
  • Be safe! Walk, do not run during transitions. Keep your hands to yourself; horseplaying never results in anything positive.
  • Set goals! Check grades in FOCUS daily. Take testing seriously. The hard work you put in now will yield better results later.
  • Have pride in yourself and your school. Keep your focus on your goals and avoid distractions. Make friends with students who also set goals and believe in their future.
  • Keep the school looking beautiful by picking up your trash, writing on paper (not desks or walls) and using restrooms like you do at home.

Closing points

I am indebted to the educators who took the time to participate, and I thank them profusely for their continued commitment to our scholars and unwavering efforts to ensure their success. Parents, scholars and community members, let’s do our part to assist them and eliminate the achievement gap we continue to experience.

Pastors, please ensure your education departments and Sunday School teachers introduce parents and scholars to the above tips, post them, address them from your pulpits and ensure your congregations are aware and compliant.

Barbers, hair salon owners, nail techs and other business owners, please post these tips and remind your customers why compliance is essential to our scholars’ success. Coaches, please ensure all your participants understand the importance of education. Promote these tips to parents and students and implement policies that stress the key to playing and cheering is school success. Routinely review report cards as a means of acquainting your participants with the idea of eligibility.

Parents and scholars, if you do not currently know, make sure you meet with the educational leaders at your schools and learn the difference between standard diplomas and concordance diplomas. You want to avoid concordance diplomas at all costs. Know and internalize all the requirements for graduation and work to meet them. Do yourself and your future a favor: graduate with a standard diploma.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top