The key is finding organization strategies that work for students and learning coaches.
A new school year is an exciting time for a fresh start and to try something new. So it is the perfect time to introduce the new WeAreCCA podcast. The monthly podcast will touch on issues and topics that impact CCA families.
In this month’s podcast, we asked a veteran CCA parent and student to share tips and advice for families to start the school year strong with Commonwealth Charter Academy. Natasha Shane, director of family services at CCA, offered great tips for new learning coaches. Her daughter, Anjuli, gave helpful advice for students new to CCA. Natasha and Anjuli have been with CCA for 10 years.
They shared the importance of finding organization strategies that work for your family. Here’s a deeper look into some of their tips:
Students of any grade level
Keeping track of things is important for students’ success. Finding a system that meets your needs and helps you stay on top of assignments, important dates and information is key. Natasha said the organizational responsibilities for the learning coach and student change as students get older.
Here are a few useful ideas no matter the student’s age:
• Know your student’s schedules. Keeping a calendar with important due dates, field trips, project dates and end-of-marking-period dates will help you feel more organized with it all laying out in front of you. When you see your children’s schedules, connect with their teachers so that you have open communication established right off the bat.
• Shop for basic school supplies. Back-to-school shopping can be fun for you and your students. Letting them pick out folders, notebooks and other supplies will make them more excited for school and more inclined to use them.
• Stay digitally organized. Using folders in your webmail and familiarizing yourself with ways to organize your webmail so that you don’t miss anything important should be a priority, too.
As a learning coach for a student in elementary school, it is your responsibility to take the lead in organizing and setting good examples.
- READ MORE: 10 tips from veteran learning coaches
Natasha said you should allow your students to be involved with organization as much as possible. For example, letting them pick colors for their folders for different subjects is a good way to help them learn colors at the same time.
• Buy folders for each subject. This will help keep track of all of the worksheets and assignments.
• Use bins, drawers or cubicles for all class materials. Anjuli said she used to use a filing cabinet, with drawers for each subject to keep track of all of the other, non-paper materials she needed for school.
• Practice communication and clarification. Natasha recommended that learning coaches help their students stay on track with organization by explaining the purpose of organization and communicating with them every step of the way.
In this stage, students begin to take charge of organization but need reminders from their learning coaches.
• Encourage students to develop their own system. Maybe they have outgrown the system you started when they were younger, or maybe they just want to make their own system. Encourage them to do their own thing, but keep track of what they are up to and which assignments are due because they aren’t entirely independent.
Once high school rolls around, students most likely have figured out the organization system that works for them. As they gain more independence in organization, they should become more responsible for maintaining regular communication with their teachers. The level of accountability expected has ramped up, too.
• Graduate from folders to binders or other bigger bins. Because high school students naturally have more to keep track of, the folders or drawers they once used for papers and materials may no longer fit their needs. Robust binders can be a big help.
• Encourage them to have a planner. Using a planner helps them keep track of important dates and upcoming assignments, and it prepares them for the real world by helping them practice time management on paper.
While every family and student is different, being organized is one of the best ways to ensure your students start the year right.