I start to hear it as soon as August hits. “Going back soon,” my well-meaning neighbors ask.
I want to choke them, but resist, and instead reply with something like, “Not that soon, but thanks for asking,” a sarcastic tilt to my head.
Like it not, however, school starts soon. So it’s time not only for me, but for my students and their parents also to get ready.
Because I teach high school, most students feel they know the routine and the best ways to approach a new year, so many spend little time thinking through the start of a new year.
Younger students, of course, have less experience so require a bit more guidance.
Locally, a multitude of resources can help with this transition from summer break back into school’s routines for these young students. The Great Start Collaborative of Charlevoix, Emmet, and Northern Antrim Counties is a great place to start. A collaboration of several non-profit agencies, the Great Start Collaborative offers supports for support for families with young children. The organization particularly focuses on early childhood initiatives, as the research is strong to suggest the benefits of investing as much as possible in the youngest students.
The Collaborative provides scholarships for pre-school students ages 3-5, as well as Freecycle book program that provides books to eager young readers. There is a Halloween costume exchange program, as well as Early Childhood Networking Nights too.
Bi-monthly meetings are open to all interested community members, parents or not. Participating organizations include agencies such Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, the Child Abuse and Prevention and Education Council, area public libraries, as well as an army of active and concerned parents and others.
While young students benefit from supports like the Great Start Collaborative, my older students too can benefit from some of this organized momentum. Teens might consider joining the YMCA of Northern Michigan, or the Charlevoix or Emmet County chapters of 4-H.
Older students should also consider volunteer opportunities, both as a method to connect with others outside of school, as well as because such volunteering provides purpose as well as social awareness. The Manna Food Project is a great resource, while most area churches likewise offer a chance to volunteer in this way.
School starts soon and while there are certainly classroom pursuits to plan, students of all ages—and parents—can prepare to get back into the academic groove by partnering with local agencies aiming to improve the health and well-being of our young people.
I can handle a few more well-intentioned friends wondering when my summer ends. What I would prefer, however, rather than questions about when it starts, are questions about how we can all make it a more successful school year.