Editor’s note: School starts soon, and how a student does in school depends a lot on his or her parents. We asked area teacher and administrators for the best tips on how parents can help their students have success in school. Their suggestions will run every day through Aug. 27.

Today’s tip: Encourage your teen to get involved in something at school.

At the beginning of the school year, work to help your high school or middle school student to become a part of some school organization or activity.

“It could be a new sport, extracurricular activity, volunteering, or it could be to continue an activity they have done in the past,” said Michelle Crowley, Lewiston High School social studies teacher.

If your teen seems reluctant to join something, do some homework and find out what activities are offered on the school website and talk to your student’s teachers or guidance counselor.

“You can say to them, ‘You don’t have to tell my child I did this, but what extracurricular activity do you think they’d be well suited for?’” Crowley said.

At the middle school and high school, there are many ways students can become a bigger part of the school community. In addition to sports, there’s speech, debate and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“That is awesome,” Crowley said.

There’s a program where students mentor special ed students during the school day, plus the yearbook, the student newspaper and a mock trial. This year, the high school is offering a model United Nations, where students act as though they’re diplomats.

Belonging to something does a lot of good, Crowley said. It helps teens feel like they’re part of the school.

“Students hold themselves more accountable,” Crowley said. “They know people are depending on them. They’re known to others. They recognize more faces in the hallways. School feels more like their place.”

When students feel they’re part of the school community, they often do better academically.

“They’re less apt to do negative behaviors,” Crowley said.

— Bonnie Washuk


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