8 Ways to Help Students Transition to Blended School
Traditionally, back-to-school preparation means buying new shoes and stocking up on spiral-bound notebooks. For families who are switching to a blended learning school, which combines face-to-face teaching and online learning, the steps may be a bit different, but parent involvement is just as essential. Check out the hints below to learn what you can do to help your student make a smooth transition to blended school.
Most schools start the year with orientation sessions. For completely online schools, this may be done using the Internet, but for a blended school, there is likely to be an in-person orientation on campus. Attending this meeting will give you the opportunity to tour the school and get answers to any remaining questions you have about the school and its programs. Orientation also enables you to meet the people who will be working directly with your student. At Nexus Academy schools, for example, this includes teachers, school counselors, administrators, and Success Coaches, who guide students as they set and achieve goals—and help keep them on track for graduation.
Set an Appointment
If you have concerns about your student’s needs, consider contacting the school to set an appointment for a conference early in the school year. This will give you a chance to discuss your student’s learning style, course schedule, strengths, weaknesses, interests, and other traits. This information can help school staff personalize the program to support your child’s learning effectively.
Familiarize Yourself with the Rules
Contact the school for a copy of the school handbook so you’ll know what to expect—and what is expected of your student. Typically, this handbook outlines the school’s policies for attendance and behavior. It likely also provides the school’s honor code as well as any dress code that may apply.
Test Your Technology
If your student will be using your family’s home computer, laptop, or tablet to do schoolwork, make sure your equipment and software meet the school’s compatibility requirements for accessing the online learning content and attending classes in the virtual classroom. If you will be using the school’s equipment, test it as soon as you receive it. This will help ensure that your student is ready to start school without technology problems causing delays.
Take a Test Drive
As soon as your family is given access to the school’s online education system, take it for a spin! A high-quality school will provide tools for parent involvement. At Nexus Academy, this includes access to the student’s assignments, lessons, and resources, plus an up-to-date gradebook. You’ll also want to learn how to submit your student’s at-home attendance hours and how to use the school’s internal communications system to contact teachers and staff. Getting familiar with the school’s online system over the summer will help both you and your child start school strong!
Check the Calendar
Obtain a copy of the school year calendar now, and make a note of state testing, school breaks, teacher conferences, and other important events. To keep your calendar up-to-date, you’ll want to log on to the school’s online system regularly and check for news and information.
Make Room for Learning
When attending a blended learning school, your student will be completing schoolwork from home part-time, so you may want to spend some time making the study zone more comfortable and inviting. Is the lighting adequate? Is there enough space to organize learning materials and supplies? Is the area reasonably quiet and free from distractions?
Discuss Your Plans for Success
Perhaps the most important step you can take is to sit down with your student to discuss goals for the school year. After setting goals, work together to formulate a plan for achieving them. Your plan should include a schedule for completing the at-home school hours, plus a measurable way to tell if your student is succeeding. If your student will be unsupervised during the at-home studies, you should talk about what to do if he or she gets “stuck.” It’s also important to discuss time management strategies and set some guidelines designed to keep your student focused and on track.
Taking a proactive approach to kicking off the new school year in a blended school environment may require some effort, but it will pay off. Your advance preparation demonstrates to your student that education is a top priority! And by becoming as familiar as you can with your child’s new school, you can help ensure that he or she starts strong in blended learning.
What advance preparations does your family do to get ready for school success? Share your brightest ideas in the comments.