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Thriving Schools Mines Back-To-School Gems to Make Your School Year Shine

John Venturino is a communications specialist at Kaiser Permanente. He advocates for health by riding his bike, walking, commuting on public transit, volunteering, being a blood donor, having meaningful relationships, getting his flu shot, and cooking and eating well. Follow him on Twitter @venturi_v1962
john.v.venturino@kp.org

This time of year there’s a whole lot of chatter out there about kids going back to school with much advice-giving on how families, teachers and schools can prepare for a smooth transition. Thriving Schools has pulled several “trending” topics from the back-to-school dialogue. For each topic, we provide a resource we feel provides information that shares our vision and perspective. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, simply the ones we find compelling. We hope you agree.

If you only have time to check one place for back-to-school tips …

Visit kids.gov – This site is a resource provided by the U.S. General Services Administration, has a wealth of information not just for kids, but also parents and teachers. It includes resources for the whole school year and summertime. Here’s its 10 Tips To Get Ready For Back to School

For Parents…

Shopping for school supplies Livegreen.recyclebank.com has practical tips for saving money and prepping kids while also demonstrating sustainable shopping habits.

Getting kids back on the school sleep schedule – Adequate sleep is fundamental to success in the classroom. The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips for getting kids re-adjusted to the school schedule before school starts back up. As in NOW!

A site just for girlsGirlshealth.gov offers an impressive array of material addressing girls’ unique physical, emotional and social needs, under 11 helpfully tabbed topics.

Managing back-to-school stress – For a lot of kids, back to school time is not a happy time. Here’s an article from The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine (BHI) at Massachusetts General Hospital that we hope will help reduce some of the anxiety many kids feel when it’s time to get back in the classroom.

Help with a fundamental skill – The ability to express thoughts coherently in writing enhances every child’s chances of academic success. This article provides fun ways to get kids writing outside the classroom so their literacy improves inside the classroom. Brilliant!

Classroom academic success Be a Learning Hero – This site provides resources and information from some of the nation’s most respected education and parent organizations. These include the National PTA, Common Sense Media and Great Schools – to help parents navigate the ever-changing landscape of K-12 education, and enable their children to achieve their best.

For Teachers

A site just for teachers – Every profession should have resources for those who want to foster innovation. This site’s motto: “Teacher Nerds, Unite” makes it sound like such a place. Teachers, let us know if it’s true.

Inspiring innovation: permission to geek out in the classroom – Tomorrow’s innovators and thought leaders are in today’s schoolrooms. Paradoxically, the time in their lives when kids’ thought processes are most malleable is precisely when pressure from peers to conform is greatest. This blog from the website Edutopia by teacher Heather Wolpert Gawron explains how to create classrooms where kids have permission to “geek out” and out-of-the-box thinking is the norm.

For Schools

Creating a healthy school environment – The Center for Disease Control Prevention offers the School Health Index, a set of tools schools can use to “engage teachers, parents, students, and the community in promoting health-enhancing behaviors and better health.”

Health and nutritionFoodCorps is creating a future in which all children know what healthy food is, care where it comes from and have access to it every day. That’s a vision and mission with which Thriving Schools is fully on board.

School employee wellness – We hope you’ll poke around our own Thriving Schools website for ideas that can make this year’s back-to-school experience a great one. One good area to check out is our section on school employee wellness. You’ll find plenty of ideas and resources there for creating a school environment that’s healthy for school staff and teachers as well as students. The section includes a guide on how to refresh the staff breakroom and a toolkit with some easy ideas for spreading wellness.

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