Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Transition for Parents of College Bound Students

By Candace Powell Kinard

Parenting Young Adults.  If this is your first child going off to college, understand that things will be different.  As you know, children are growing and maturing and will develop their own believes and opinions in the process.  Their experience in college will promote an even greater opportunity for them to experience new things and form even more thoughts and opinions.  As a parent, this is where you begin to learn how to communicate with your children as they are developing into young adults. Treating them as if they are the same or as if they are still kids, will likely create an awkward relationship, stress the communication or cause strife in your household.  Learn who they are as they grow and how to communicate with them.  This can be done while still having rules, structure and being a parent.

Discuss Your Expectations Before Your Student Leaves. 
Suggested discussion topics:
New House rules- If they intend to commute to college and living at home or when the students come home during breaks, what are the new or remaining house rules and expectations.  It is likely that rules will change though they still live at home.  They will need space and room to grow and mature.
House chores – If student live at home or come home for visits, don’t expect that they will have the same amount of time they had while in high school.  Academic expectations in college are much more demanding and the freshman year is all about learning time management.  Poor time management is the number one reason that students are not successful in the freshman year and end up with poor grades or are dismissed.  Discuss their responsibilities of being a member of the family and of the house and compromise on their household responsibilities. 
How late to stay out and come in- College students inevitably become night owls which may or may not work well when they come home.  Establish rules and guidelines that take into consideration and are fair to all members of the family.  Remind them that younger siblings are watching and paying attention to their actions and choices.
Communicating with Family- If they intend to live on campus, discuss the importance of communicating back home to family (and friends).   Encourage them to connect with family back home in order for you to hear how they are doing, but also because it’s important for them to hear your supportive voice every now and then.  Don’t push, prod or dig for information.  Let them share.   If there are younger siblings in the family they may feel the loss as well.  Though they may like the break, the younger sibling(s) will feel good if the older sibling periodically takes some interest in what’s going on in their younger sibling’s life too.  Sharing what it’s like to be a college student will also be great lessons for the younger sibling.  (just don’t ask about everything they talk about- give them some space -remember your college days – and you will understand that there are just some things you don’t want to know about)
Academics –Let them know you are supportive and remind them of any academic standards you have as a family or goals they have set for themselves. Discuss that if they are federal financial aid recipients they are required to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to remain a recipient.   If they have scholarships that require that they maintain a particular GPA, review again each scholarship and their requirements to remain eligible.  
 Finishing and graduating from college are the ultimate goal.  However, so many students don’t get there for a variety of reasons and much of the lack of understanding starts in the freshman year.  Finances are definitely at the top of the list of challenges.  So keep the search for funding and scholarships going throughout their years in college. (more on that in future newsletters.) Critical to the student’s success, however, is having an understanding of the rules, regulations and guidelines established by the campus.  Including what options exist to drop an undesired class and register for a new on and what are the consequences of dropping classes, how many credits are needed to graduate generally and in their major,  how is a GPA calculated, etc.  It’s important to understand where students can get additional help if needed and they should be aware of whether professors available for assistance and when, where they can get tutoring, etc.

Budget and finance – Review all financial aid documents and arrangements.  The financial aid office may not be contacting parents directly anymore and will likely ask questions directly of the student (see FERPA topic below).  Make sure they understand how their financial aid works, their responsibilities and that they feel comfortable calling you right away with questions. 
Student Debt Cards and Money Issues:  Discuss also what access to money the student will have while at college.  Settle on reasonable spending dollar amounts and what to do in an emergency.  (no – a new hoodie from the school store is not an emergency) Check with your bank for shared checking accounts (you open a new and separate account, you deposit money and the student has access to the account using a debit card), and debit cards specifically for teens and college students.  Good time to have the conversation around being responsible with money.
Moral issues including dating and sex – While awkward, and depending on your relationship with your child, no doubt these issues could pose a challenge.  Better to try to broach the subject now than to find that the student has found themselves in a comprising situation.  Is your student leaving a girl/boy friend at home? What are their intentions?  Sexual abuse is a very hot topic on college campuses right now as well. Students, both male and female, need to feel comfortable, supported and should know where to go for help.  Have a candid conversation to remind students of any family religious or other moral issues.  Enlist the help of your faith based community for guidance and resources.  Most campuses also have departments (student affairs, health center, counseling, etc.) that also provide support and address these issues.

“Candace Powell Kinard is the Founder and Senior Consultant of EduDreamer, a higher education consultancy designed to motivate, inspire and assistant students and parents through the process of obtaining and paying for a college education.” “From EduDreamer, “What You Should Be Doing Now” Newsletter Summer 2015 Edition by Candace Powell Kinard.  Reprinted by permission of Candace Powell Kinard”

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Parent Academic Engagement a Key to Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline Crisis

School administrators are always looking for ways to improve their students academic performance. This is an important goal because it can prevents students from positioning themselves to drop out of school. It is unfortunate but a significant amount of prisoners are high school drop outs. Principals need to get parents actively involved in their drop out prevention efforts. Parents need to have the tools to promote academic excellence in their homes. The goal of the parent must be to destroy any possibility that their child will land in prison. The principal must make it clear that the parent and the school are on the same mission.

There are several things principals can do to engage parents and stop the school-to-pison-pipeline. 

1. Point parents to academic support systems in your school regularly.

2. Get a tutor right away 

3. Get the teacher to create sheets of course information that students must know to succeed.

4. Have a school that is focused on careers so that students see the possibility of a better alternative.

5. Regularly ask the parents how the school can be better and strive toward that goal.

6. Be persistent about getting parents talking to school counselors and teachers.

7. Invite parents to use the school computer lab as part of an after school initiative and also offer courses.

8.  Create job opportunities that are tied to school attendance.

9. Have an annual event to recognize parents for their contribution to the school.

10. Establish a homework help after school resource for parents.

Today is the day to make a difference in the life of every student. Now is the time to raise each students motivation to succeed. It's time to cut off he school-to- prison-pipeline right away. Schools must work toward developing new and innovative curriculum that students value. The parents and students need hope that the possibility of a better future is going to be a reality at their school. 

School administrators and teachers must recognize that parents want the best for their child. Implementing activities that highlight the success of your students is one way get parents involved and supporting your efforts. Give out a special pin for students with good attendance and improving grades.

Dr. Stephen Jones is an educator, presenter and author who offers more tips and strategies for parents in his book the Parent Ultimate Education Guide at .

Friday, August 17, 2012

Parent Involvement Key to School Success

Springfield, Pa. – The author of the Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide believes active parent involvement raises a student’s academic performance. Yet school districts have witnessed a steady decline in parent participation. Gone are the days when a mother stayed at home to raise children and participate in school activities. Parents are happy when they are not called to the school regarding their son/daughters behavior. Something needs to be done to make parent involvement in K12 schools a high priority on their list of daily activities. Parents need more information about how K12 education is changing. Most parents are not aware of the financial challenges that school systems are facing. Many schools are underfunded when compared to school districts within their own states. Parents can play a role in encouraging their local legislators to get involved in changing their states school funding formula. What the educators are saying about parent involvement is true. Parents who read to their children early develop children who enjoy reading. Children are like sponges absorbing new knowledge at a tremendous rate. Today parents are too concerned about keeping their children entertained. Parents are great role models for their children’s love for learning. If the majority of the parent’s time is spent in front of the television then it becomes their child’s main source of information and learning. A student’s enthusiasm for learning should begin in the home then spreads to a child’s school instruction. Some governors are saying we need more standardized tests to resolve the student achievement gap. Parent involvement is an alternative that costs fewer dollars to implement. The resources that are allocated for testing could be spent to increase the number of parent leaders who are in the schools. Some schools are finding ways to get parent’s involved in the daily activities of their schools. Parents who are involved can learn about instruction methods that other parents can use in the home. They are the catalyst to get parents who are not involved to volunteer for special projects. Parents sometimes reflect on the bad experiences that they had when they were in K12 schools. Student achievement can be raised when parents know that their active participation will make a difference in their child’s learning capacity. Some parent’s are looking at their child’s achievement level to see if there are any differences. They need to know more about the benefits of looking at the value of education from a different perspective. Some parents do not know what a good education looks like. School administrators and teachers must continually advocate for increased communication with parents. Some parents are raising the bar on their expectations for their student. They are often interested in identifying resources that will prepare their child for college. They participate in after school and weekend programs right along with their child. They sign up because of their belief that their program will serve us a link between high school and college. The United States is steadily slipping in terms of its edge in graduating students from high schools, trade schools, and colleges. Starting a national campaign to help parents to understand their role in student achievement is a solution whose time has come. New and innovative organizations are needed. These organizations must take into account the changing trends in family structures. Parents are looking for solutions to the achievement gap. The solution lays in a combination of community and K12 schools working toward alternative education activities which are easily implemented in the home. To be entered into a drawing for a free review copy of the Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide send your address Dr. Jones. Dr. Stephen Jones is education consultant author of three books the Parent's Ultimate Education Guide, Seven Secrets of How to Study and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide available at .