How to Start the School Year Off Strong

Julia-FitzgeraldYou are your family’s CEO. No, not Chief Executive Officer (although you may be that too) – I’m talking about Chief Education Officer. CEOs take primary responsibility for their children’s academic success.  CEOs engage actively in their children’s academics and want to create a long-term plan for their kids’ education. CEOs take advantage of advice and resources that will strengthen his or her child’s academic journey. Does this sound like you? Welcome to the “corner office”!

Are you ready to commit to being the best CEO that you can be? Join us here at Sylvan Learning along with the thousands of other CEOs out there and take the CEO Pledge on Facebook. You’ll not only be putting your commitment to your child’s education in writing but also helping your local PTA: the five PTA chapters with the most CEO pledges by October 24th will receive a $1,000 grant from Sylvan Learning for 2014-2015 school year initiatives. We encourage you to ask grandparents, aunts, uncles and community members to take the pledge too – after all, they all play a role in your child’s education.

So, what can you as a CEO do to start the school year off strong?

  •  Stay active in your local PTA chapter. You’ve already taken the first step here. The PTA allows parents to tap into a SylvanLogonetwork of other parents and teachers. It’s a great opportunity to discuss the issues that you care about and swap experiences and advice. You’ll also have access to exclusive resources and member benefits, like those from Sylvan Learning. The benefits include free student resources for reading, math, study skills, ACT/SAT prep and more as well as help for parents like fundraising opportunities and referral programs that help financially support your school!
  •  Communicate with your child’s teachers regularly. If you are your family’s CEO, your child’s teacher is certainly on the Board of Directors. By establishing a relationship with your child’s teacher early, you’ll be more in tune to what your child is learning in the classroom and better able to address potential problems before they arise. Use the first few weeks of school to make an in-person introduction, whether it be at back to school nights or during pick-up / drop-off times. From there, you and your child’s teacher can establish the best way to keep in touch.
  • Know where your child stands academically and when to get help. Report cards aren’t meant to be surprises. Most teachers will provide a syllabus or outline for the school year and this can be a big help in tracking progress. If expectations aren’t clear, bring this up with your child’s teacher or ask to have regular check-ins. Also make it a point to ask your child about school each day and how he or she feels about the subjects being learned. If a struggle becomes evident, it may be time to take advantage of school resources or get your child extra help.
  •  Attend the CEO Training Series. Even CEOs need continuing education. That’s why this fall, Sylvan Learning is introducing our CEO Training Series to help parents learn tips and tricks to set their kids up for success. First up is tackling effective study skills. Taught by a local Sylvan Learning staff member, the session will address why study skills are important to a successful academic career, how to identify poor study habits, how to fix them, what study tools should be used and much more. Local leaders can go to to reach out to your local Sylvan Learning center and schedule this very helpful seminar.
  •  Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Maybe your child is a whiz at math but not so great when it comes to writing. This is important to know so that you can spend the most time working with your child on his or her weak areas while continuing to strengthen those that he or she excels at. Tell your child’s teacher about strengths and weaknesses up front – it will allow him or her to help your child improve in the areas needed the most.

To help PTA parents get a handle on this, we’re offering 50 percent off a Sylvan Insight Assessment, which identifies a child’s academic strengths and weaknesses as well as his or her attitudes about school and learning. The assessment is designed to help families and educators determine the right support a child needs to excel. In addition to the discount, for every student who takes an assessment, Sylvan will donate $10 to the student’s local PTA.

  •  Set a good academic example. You are your child’s greatest role model and he or she is sure to pick up on your attitudes, behaviors and feelings. Show your child that you value education and that learning doesn’t stop when you leave school. You can do this by visiting a museum on the weekend, reading a new book once per month or even taking a class in a subject that interests you!

 Being your family’s Chief Education Officer isn’t always an easy job but it is one of the most important ones out there. Keep it up CEOs – you’re doing a great job!

Sylvan Learning is a financial sponsor of National PTA, and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.