Baltimore County Now
Stay on Track
It’s that time of year again: the sun sets a bit earlier, the weather gets a bit cooler, and “back-to-school sale” ads are constantly running on television and in our news feeds online.
School has become the focus for kids and families everywhere, including me, as I start my junior year of high school next week. Stores are packed with shoppers, and students are rushing to complete the homework packets they were supposed to work on all summer long. A little switch turns on inside students and parents alike, making us shift gears from leisure mode to work mode for the next nine months.
Tips for Students
With the new school year comes new ideas, new people, new challenges, and new experiences. Here are my back-to-school tips for students. And actually, most can apply to grownup endeavors too! Head back with a new attitude and challenge yourself with a new routine. Set goals like keeping organized, creating study guides for every test, accepting a few more AP classes, and even expanding your group of friends or challenging the status quo. This can keep your ideas fresh, help you stay on track, and create a sense of accomplishment that will last the whole year.
My suggestions include:
- Get plenty of sleep. Students need lots of rest to stay alert and focused in class. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep a night to help you perform your best each day.
- Stay organized. Organization is important for having a successful year. Classes can become overwhelming sometimes, but if you keep a neat locker and organized binders, school will flow more smoothly.
- Set goals. This will keep you on track and focused throughout the year. As American author Earl Nightingale put it, “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” Let your goals be your guide.
- Manage time effectively. Time management of academic life and social life can be difficult, but it’s the key to good grades and a great school year. In other words, do your homework and limit your daily social activities as needed. Managing your time well helps you meet deadlines and stay on track.
- Start your daily routine in advance. Going back to school can be a shock to your system after a few relaxing months off. Ease back into things by getting up early and starting your morning routine a few days or even a week before school starts.
- Remain positive. Writer Anthony J. D’Angelo once said, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your sunshine.” With intense classes and tons of homework, school can get a little stormy. Everything may not go your way all the time, but staying positive will help you push through the year with confidence and success.
- Establish a close rapport with your teachers. Participate in class and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Teachers are there to guide you with advice and encourage you to succeed. Also, don’t forget about those all-important colleges recommendations!
- Make new friends. High school is the perfect opportunity to form lifelong friendships. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, speak up and reach out to new people. In the words of Italian Renaissance writer Francesco Guicciardini, “Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them.”
- Prepare the night before. Mornings can be hectic. Choose your clothes and pack a lunch the night before for a stress-free start to your day. And of course, make sure to eat a healthy breakfast!
- Create a homework zone. A well organized, spacious area at home is essential for a getting your homework done. Designate a quiet, well-lit spot to help you do your work thoroughly and efficiently.
Sure, this time of year can certainly feel like a hassle, but laying down some smart ground rules and challenging yourself with new goals will get you back into the swing of things at school in no time flat. The best part is, you’ll return wearing a confident smile. Now that's how to go back-to-school in style!
Rashi Pachino, Intern
Baltimore County Office of Communications
Blake Lubinski, Communications Intern, Baltimore County Public Schools
Long before the schoolhouse doors open for a new year, preparations begin for 10 months of teaching and learning. From classroom housekeeping and lesson planning to summer reading and supplies shopping, educators and students are thoroughly involved in back-to-school season.
But what about you? Does back to school involve you, too? According to Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), it does!
From now until the end of October, BCPS invites you to gear up for the new school year through its “Back to School Involves You, Too!” campaign. Including special workshops open to the community through the school system’s Parent University, back-to-school programming airing on the school system’s television station and contests beginning after the first day of school, the campaign also offers opportunities for Baltimore County residents to become active members of Team BCPS.
To start, visit the “Back to School Involves You, Too!” webpage on the BCPS website to download and print one of three 8.5-by-11-inch signs welcoming the students back and wishing them a great school year. Then, on Wednesday, August 27, the first day of school for BCPS students, take a photograph of the sign posted in your community or held by your BCPS student. The best photographs submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or received through Facebook or Twitter (@BaltCoPS, #BCPSfirstday) will appear on the BCPS website or Flickr page.
What’s more, when back-to-school season ends later this fall, Baltimore County residents can remain active Team BCPS members throughout the school year by attending school events, becoming business partners, offering internships to BCPS students and volunteering at their local schools. And, to stay up-to-date on school system happenings all year long, Baltimore County community members can download the BCPS Now app, follow the BCPS Deliberate Excellence blog and subscribe to the weekly BCPS e-newsletter.
Back-to-school season comes once a year, but BCPS students prepare every day to become Baltimore County’s future citizens and workforce. Help the students with their preparations by following the first rule of back to school: be involved!
To Dr. Dance and his administrative team: Thank you for creating such a positive school climate all across Baltimore County. Team BCPS is a reality, and it’s making a difference in our children’s lives.
To all of the administrators, teachers and support staff: Thank you for all you do for Baltimore County’s students each and every day. I know that many of you worked all summer preparing for the 2013-2014 school year, and as I drove by schools this weekend, I saw the parked cars of many educators who were putting the finishing touches on classrooms and getting ready for the most exciting day of the school year.
To our students: I know that many of you are very nervous, particularly our kindergarten students, 6th and 9th graders. Thank you for taking school so seriously. As I go from school to school, I’m always incredibly impressed by how hard students are working. Keep up the good work!
And finally, to our parents: I want to thank you most of all. You have been there from the beginning. You were the first to teach your sons and daughters their numbers and letters. You read them their first books. You take them to band practice and pick them up from student council. You take them to the zoo, science center and aquarium. You make them do their homework, make sure they have a good breakfast, and you work hard to teach them the difference between right and wrong. You are the foundation upon which BPCS rests.
I hope all of you have a wonderful year, and let’s continue to make the Baltimore County Public School System one of the best in the nation.