Principal’s Blog, September 2017
By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer's best of weather, and autumn's best of cheer.
—Helen Hunt Jackson
Hello PSA Parents, Students, and Staff!
As we jump into September it’s time to reflect on our students’ academic progress thus far. In focusing on academics, the article entitled: The Global Achievement Gap: Why America’s Students Are Falling Behind, by Cindy Donaldson, may be worth reading. In this article, Donaldson points out that our kids may not be developing the following 7 skills as thoroughly as they should be: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Leading by Influence, Agility and Adaptability, Initiative and Entrepreneurialism, Effective Oral and Written Communication, Assessing/Analyzing Data, as well as Curiosity and Imagination.
Public Safety Academy Staff is committed to integrating the development of these skills alongside with the regular curriculum. We ask that parents try to reinforce these skills at home as well. Donaldson offers the following ideas:
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: What you can do: Have your child help you figure out real-life problems at home. Let him help you assemble a Christmas present, fix a broken light socket, research your summer vacation, or plan a party. When he encounters an obstacle, resist telling him the solution. Instead, help him find ways to analyze the problem and develop solutions. And when the teacher assigns a project, resist the urge to over-help. He may struggle at first, but over time he’ll develop confidence in himself.
Leading by Influence: What you can do: Let your child join a team or organization, and learn to work with a group. When she has a problem with a teacher, coach or a friend, help her practice what she wants to say, but let her take care of it. Children can’t learn to advocate for themselves if the adults in their lives speak for them all the time.
Agility and Adaptability: What you can do: Model flexibility. When you encounter a change in plans, don’t get upset. Instead, use it as a chance to teach your child how to think on her feet. For instance, if your flight gets cancelled, let her help you find a new one. If you get lost, let her use the map or help ask for directions. If your oven breaks on Thanksgiving, have her help you brainstorm ways to put a turkey on the table. By showing her that the world doesn’t end when plans change, you’ll instill a can-do attitude that will benefit every part of her life.
Initiative and Entrepreneurialism: What you can do: Let your child develop and follow his own interests. Resist the urge to force him into activities that you choose. Children can endure anything, but they truly blossom when they find an activity they enjoy. Once he’s involved, encourage him to show initiative by taking his activity to the next level: run for an office, manage a fundraiser, or recruit friends. He’ll be more motivated when he’s doing something he loves.
Effective Oral and Written Communication: What you can do: Eat dinner together as a family whenever possible. Interact. Bring up hot topics, and have debates. Have your children write thank-you notes. Read their English essays and tell them about sections you really like.
Assessing and Analyzing Data: What you can do: When your child asks you a question, don’t just tell him the answer. Go to the computer together, and look things up. Talk to her about what you find – can you trust the source? Is it reliable? Discuss the markers of good information.
Curiosity and Imagination: What you can do: Encourage questions, no matter how tired you are. Offer to explore ideas and projects your child is curious about. Let him lead the way. When he finds something he really loves, encourage him to pursue it. Help him do research, get him some supplies, and take him places where he can explore the topic to his heart’s content.
Have a splendid September!
—Mrs. Stickel, Principal
Principal Jennifer Stickel