Category Archives: school

Parent teacher conferences

Parent-teacher conferences have been the standard way to communicate between home and school.

But although apps and new platforms make it easier to connect, I’m concerned that some parents might think the online class newsletters and updates can replace face time with a teacher.

Parent teacher conferences allow more than mere monitoring student progress. Physically being in a child’s classroom, sitting at her desk and talking with other parents while waiting in the hallway add a depth and dimension to understanding a child’s life at school.


Collaboration is in

If your child’s school follows the traditional calendar, it’s almost time for the fall one-on-one meeting.

But don’t be surprised if other parents show up at your scheduled time. Group parent-teacher conferences are trending.

You and other parents will leave the classroom with games and activities designed to reinforce classroom learning. Your child will still bring home the usual report card.

The group conference format is designed to increase collaboration with the classroom teacher and other parents. A bonus benefit is that group meetings reduce the time demand on teachers.

As an educator, I strongly support parent-teacher communication – after all, I even made home visits to my students! – but I’m not convinced group conferences will increase student learning.

Lunch box chips

School started weeks ago in some areas, so trends are already emerging in lunch boxes.

What’s popular?

Chips. But potato chips have gone way beyond crinkle cut and thinly sliced salty crunches.

Even kids are packing bean chips, jicama chips, bean chips and rice chips.

Moms are looking for kid friendly flavors in snackable formats.

Back-to-school sales

I’m waiting to see if the “less is more” trend hits back-to-school sales.

Even with weekly sales, the cost of school supplies has increased so much, sheer economics might compel parents to embrace a minimalist approach to buying for fall.

Lead transparency?

Lead contamination in school drinking water continues to cause headaches for administrators this summer.

Although an increasing number of districts have done lead testing and starting remediation, some parents still aren’t been notified about progress in dealing with the problem.

In some schools, lack of routine testing means lead in water often isn’t discovered, or only discovered by chance.

Where’s the transparency?


We’ve moved into the second-biggest retail season of the year: back to school. (BTS)

The two key factors in purchase decisions are students’ desire to look “cool” and discounts.

What started last year has really geared up now: location-based messages so deals pop up when you’re in the store – sometimes in a specific section of the store – in real-time.

Saving money is a big deal considering the average household spends more than $600 on back to school. But don’t let dad shop: he’ll spend 37% more than mom.

Exercise + academics = achievement

Researchers have shown that integrating physical activity into the school day improves academic performance.

Although the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity, schools struggle to meet the standard.

That won’t get any easier now that we’re in the heart of the “teaching year,” or these weeks before annual academic testing.
And that’s part of the challenge: schools are held accountable for academic achievement, so math and reading are emphasized. Extra time for gym or recess simply doesn’t happen.

Adding physical activity would mean massive overhauling of personnel, space and schedules. Will this happen during the 2017-18 school year?