The second semester of the year has begun and second quarter report cards will be available in about one week.
As second semester begins I would like to remind everyone of the importance of school attendance and timeliness. The link between school attendance and school performance is well established and the habits of being in and on time serve our students well in many of their most important future endeavors. Instruction begins at 7:45am at MHS. It is wise for students to be here by 7:30am to unpack for the day, have a bite to eat and say hello to their friends while still being to class on time.
Food for Thought
I was recently forwarded the following article by an Assistant Dean at the University of Massachusetts with whom I have the good fortune of being connected and would like to share it with you.
As each student advances through Maynard High School they should increasingly be taking on the habits, attitudes and skills discussed in the article and I urge all school community members including staff, students and parents to consider how they can contribute to developing these essential skills in all of our young adults.
“The 8 life skills all 18-year-olds should have: A checklist for parents”
Jan. 25, 2016
If we want our kids to have a shot at making it in the world as 18-year-olds, without the umbilical cord of the cell phone being their go-to solution in all manner of things, they're going to need a set of basic life skills.
Based upon my observations as dean, and the advice of parents and educators around the country, here are some examples of practical things they'll need to know how to do before they go to college — and here are the crutches that are currently hindering them from standing up on their own two feet:
1. An 18-year-old must be able to talk to strangers — faculty, deans, advisers, landlords, store clerks, human resource managers, coworkers, bank tellers, health care providers, bus drivers, mechanics—in the real world.
The crutch: We teach kids not to talk to strangers instead of teaching the more nuanced skill of how to discern the few bad strangers from the mostly good ones. Thus, kids end up not knowing how to approach strangers — respectfully and with eye contact — for the help, guidance, and direction they will need out in the world.
2. An 18-year-old must be able to find his way around a campus, the town in which her summer internship is located, or the city where he is working or studying abroad.
The crutch: We drive or accompany our children everywhere, even when a bus, their bicycle, or their own feet could get them there; thus, kids don't know the route for getting from here to there, how to cope with transportation options and snafus, when and how to fill the car with gas, or how to make and execute transportation plans.
3. An eighteen-year-old must be able to manage his assignments, workload, and deadlines.
The crutch: We remind kids when their homework is due and when to do it— sometimes helping them do it, sometimes doing it for them; thus, kids don't know how to prioritize tasks, manage workload, or meet deadlines, without regular reminders.
4. An 18-year-old must be able to contribute to the running of a house hold.
The crutch: We don't ask them to help much around the house because the checklisted childhood leaves little time in the day for anything aside from academic and extracurricular work; thus, kids don't know how to look after their own needs, respect the needs of others, or do their fair share for the good of the whole.
5. An 18-year-old must be able to handle interpersonal problems.
The crutch: We step in to solve misunderstandings and soothe hurt feelings for them; thus, kids don't know how to cope with and resolve conflicts without our intervention.
6. An 18-year-old must be able to cope with ups and downs of courses and workloads, college- level work, competition, tough teachers, bosses, and others.
The crutch: We step in when things get hard, finish the task, extend the deadline, and talk to the adults; thus, kids don't know that in the normal course of life things won't always go their way, and that they'll be okay regardless.
7. An 18-year-old must be able to earn and manage money.
The crutch: They don't hold part-time jobs; they receive money from us for what ever they want or need; thus, kids don't develop a sense of responsibility for completing job tasks, accountability to a boss who doesn't inherently love them, or an appreciation for the cost of things and how to manage money.
8. An 18-year-old must be able to take risks.
The crutch: We've laid out their entire path for them and have avoided all pitfalls or prevented all stumbles for them; thus, kids don't develop the wise understanding that success comes only after trying and failing and trying again (a.k.a. "grit") or the thick skin (a.k.a. "resilience") that comes from coping when things have gone wrong.
Remember: our kids must be able to do all of these things without resorting to calling a parent on the phone. If they're calling us to ask how, they do not have the life skill.
Julie Lythcot-Haims is the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University and the author of "How to Raise an Adult."
Some Announcements and Reminders
ABC of Resources For Families (With thanks to SEPAC)
Do you know what community resources are around you for you and your child? Where can you look for adaptive or inclusive activities? Where can you find a support group? How does -MassHealth work? Are there any online resources to connect you with other families? Who can you turn to when you need answers? Knowledge is power! Come to the Maynard SEPAC’s “ABC of Resources For Families” on Tuesday, February 2nd at 7:00 pm at the Maynard Fowler School Library to learn more about various programs, organizations, services, newsletters and websites that could assist you in the journey of raising your child on an IEP.
Reminders: Parking, Student Drop-Off and Student Pick-Up.
As a reminder our student parking lot is the lot closest to Tiger Drive on the auditorium side of the building, our visitor parking is directly in front of the main entrance and our Faculty & Staff Parking Lot is by the Gymnasium. When these lots are used as designated there is ample room in each area even under snow conditions and traffic flow in the morning and afternoon is excellent.
Drop-Off and Pick-Up by both drivers and school busses occurs in the circular drive directly in front of the main entrance.
Vans and approved cars for students with physical needs use the handicapped designated spots in front of the gymnasium entrance and these spots should never be used or blocked, even briefly, by other vehicles.
It has been our experience that when the parking lots and drives are all used appropriately and as designed we have very few traffic issues even with more than 500 people arriving at MHS within a roughly 30 minute span. Please park and use the drives as designed.
Thank you for reading and take care—
Principal of Maynard High School