K-12 Wichita teachers share advice with parents

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 8:36 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Current and former teachers with Wichita Public Schools share advice for parents with K-12 students.

With students returning to school on September 8th, Wichita parents have more than a whole month left with students at home.

We asked teachers to give their six tips for parents to help their children prepare for the fall.

Here are their tips and advice.

Wichita Public Schools students will return to school on Tues, Sept. 8. (They were originally set to return on Aug....

Posted by Lily Wu - KWCH on Thursday, July 30, 2020

Linda Niles | Tutor | Retired English Teacher | Taught 24 years in USD 259

Help kids of any age to learn better time management skills. You can Google “time management for teens,” or check out 12 Time Management Strategies of Highly Effective People.

Vocabulary development for all ages. Check out or

Read and check with your teacher to see if they have a reading list. You can Google grade level recommendations. Check and see if books are online or available at the library. You can also Google for books on special interests such as flying or specific music genres.

Consider a tutor for special challenges. Check and see if the district offers any free of charge.

Find online support groups for parents of certain age groups for challenges. For example, if there are challenges related to virtual learning.

Learn to outline by Googling for websites that teach it and offer practice.

Brooke Sorenson | Math Teacher | North High School | Entering 6th year teaching

Make sure your contact information (email, phone number) is updated with your student's school. Both under normal circumstances as well as if we need to transition to online learning, this will make communication from your student's teacher so much easier. This is probably one of the most important things you can do to prepare for the school year. If information changes throughout the school year you can contact your student's school.

Ensure that you have access to Synergy ParentVue, so that you can check grades and attendance. School staff will always be willing to help coach you on accessing the system.

Know your student's schedule and the type of classes they are taking. AP courses will require more of them than a typical class. Work with your student to balance the rigor of their schedule with what they can handle on their plate. We want to challenge and encourage students but not burn them out.

When in doubt, ask questions! As high school teachers, we welcome communication with parents because we are all here to help your student. You know your student best and we want to work with you to help them be successful. This goes for both academic as well as social-emotional needs.

For this school year, ensure your student has the appropriate materials. This includes a water bottle to avoid water fountains, as well as masks that fit them. Ultimately, we do not know what school will look like but we want your students to be prepared.

Take a deep breath! We know that helping your student with their work can be daunting, that is what we are here for. Regardless of what type of instruction is being given, we care about your students and want to see them succeed. We will do whatever we can to help them.

Maricela Lopez | Math Teacher | Coleman Middle School | Entering 9th year teaching

Start a routine - Our children have been out of school for several months so getting back into a routine may be difficult. Start by sleeping early and getting a good night’s rest. This may also include cutting back on activities that may distract your child from their academics (video games, television).

Dedicate a study area - Have a place in your home that your child can do homework or read a book. This area should have the essentials (pencils, calculators, paper) and be free of distractions. Your child can add color or motivational quotes to personalize the space.

Have access to technology and internet - With the changes COVID-19 brought, we learned that technology and internet access is an essential that made remote learning much easier. Whether or not schools will close again, having a computer and internet access is part of educating our students for the 21st century. Educators are incorporating technology into their lessons now more than ever. Students should be critical thinkers, which the internet and technology have facilitated with the loads of information available. If accessing technology or internet is an issue, contact your child's school to see if they have a computer loan program or if a computer will be provided for the year. This will save parents the need to buy computers for all their school aged children. Internet access can also be available for a low fee with some companies for those who qualify.

Build a Relationship with the school and teachers - Learn about your child's school and their teachers. Introduce yourself and share what you know about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Opening up the line of communication early on in the school year will help teachers better support your child. Children succeed when there is a partnership between school and home.

Talk to your children - While some of our children are excited to return to school, others may also feel anxiety with the uncertainties of the upcoming school year, such as new friends, new building, and new school routine. It is more important than ever to talk to our children about the possible changes in school. Knowing what to expect will help alleviate some of the anxiety and stress of returning to school and make the transition much easier. Make this a routine. Continue talking to child during dinner or on your drive home after picking them up from school. Let them talk to you now. Not only will you know what your child feels at the moment but you will cherish these moments later.

Flexibility and grace - This school year will be like no other for all children, parents, and educators. As changes and decisions are made, please remember to allow yourself and your child some flexibility in learning new things, whether that be a new skill or a new norm. We are in this together and we will be better for it.

Chasmyn Thimesch | 5th grade teacher | Cloud Elementary | Entering 3rd year teaching

It’s important that students are being read to reading to themselves, reading aloud to someone, or being read to. Parents can ask questions during the story to check for understanding. It prepares students for similar practices in the classroom and it’s just a great overall reading habit for good readers.

Parents could also make sure that children know how to properly wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds and all over their hands. Also, with sneezing and coughing, team them to cover their mouth or nose with the inside or their elbows. We will teach those skills again, but practicing at home will be helpful.

For the younger students, review some math skills by counting toys, shapes, or colors around the house or town or during walks. For students who are able to do that, use a deck of cards to review addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, or place them together and have students read the large numbers that are being created.

Focus on the positives because it’s so easy to get consumed by the negatives. Make a list and discuss all the things the student might be looking forward to or loves about school, like who they might see, possible teachers, favorite subject, etc.

Try to get students back on track with a somewhat normal sleeping schedule with wake up times that align with school and gives students enough time to get ready. Parents already do this each summer, but now they have more time in USD 259 to prepare because of the delayed start.

Children are extremely observant, so ask them how they feel about the new year. Discuss their feelings, thoughts, expectations, and answer them the best you can. Reassure them about whatever form of education you’ve chosen for them. Going into the school year with a positive mindset will be extremely helpful.

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