Guidelines for Parents and Guardians
We understand that a shift to a distance learning approach will require our students and families to make adjustments. However, a continued partnership with parents and guardians can play a vital part in ensuring the success of the plan. Teachers and advisors are all available to support and guide students should they need help. Below are some guidelines for parents and guardians to enable students to become successful at distance learning.
1. Establish a Regular Schedule for Your Child and Stay Engaged with their Learning: Once distance learning is initiated by Newman (starting 3/23), it will be important for parents and guardians to help students establish and maintain a routine and structure for their day, beginning with a regular bedtime and wake-up time. While some of our students may want to stay up late and sleep in, establishing a regular school-day routine will help your child retain a sense of normalcy and stay engaged in learning. Be sure to help your child build in “breaks” during the school day, encouraging them to stand up and move around so they are not remaining sedentary throughout the day. We recommend you begin and close each “school day” with a brief check-in as well as checking in throughout the day at regular intervals to ensure that your child is successfully engaging in distance learning. Reach out to your child’s teacher and advisor if you observe your child struggling to stay focused. Setting clear expectations with your child about regular school day hours will help your child maintain a schedule and stay on top of their schoolwork.
2. Create a Study Space for Your Child: Productive learning relies on a conducive environment. We recommend that you create a separate, quiet space in your home for your child to study. The family room sofa with close proximity to a television or your child’s bedroom may not be the optimal place for your child to learn. We recommend that you choose an open area in the family living space (kitchen table, dining room, etc.) to avoid isolating your child and to allow parents and guardians to monitor your child’s learning and screen activity. A room with a strong wireless connection will also be important.
3. Stay in Communication with your Student’s Teachers: Teachers are available as resources for your student and for you. Succinct e-mails to your student’s teachers and Advisors are encouraged.
4. Encourage Independence and Allow for Productive Struggle: Stay engaged in your student’s learning by asking them questions and having them share their thoughts while encouraging their independence so they can take ownership of their own learning. Some productive struggle is essential to learning, so we ask that parents allow their children to grapple with problems and come up with ideas for tackling them. Stepping in too quickly to help solve problems will deprive your child of the opportunity to learn, try new approaches, and gain greater independence and confidence. If your student becomes discouraged or overwhelmed by schoolwork, please reach out to your student’s advisor.
5. Help your Student Maintain Social Contact with Peers: It will be very important for your student to stay in social contact (through virtual means) with their friends and peers during a campus closure. Encourage your student to interact with friends through digital means. They can form study groups created by their teachers or informal groups that they develop on their own. Social interactions, even through virtual means, will help your student stay connected and feel a part of the community. To that end, our distance-learning schedule will contain time specifically for Advisory meetings, All-School Meeting (Community Video), and Office Hours. Naturally, the nature of these experiences will be different in an online environment but will serve to help us stay connected as a community.
6. Encourage Physical Activity and Movement and Monitor Student Stress: Physical movement and exercise are vital to maintaining physical and mental health, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving concentration and focus for more effective learning and retention. Parents should monitor student stress levels and reach out to the advisor for advice as needed.