How Can I Help My Child?

     Every year, parents ask me how they can help their children be successful in school. Below, I give my sincere (and blunt) advice. My students know that I don’t usually sugarcoat things for them. They receive honest answers when they ask honest questions.

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” --Woody Allen
     It is very important that your child arrives to school on time, stay the entire day, and does not miss many school days -- especially if s/he is struggling academically. Although school starts at 8:10 AM, please help your child get to school by 8:00 AM so that s/he can do the classroom entry tasks, turn in assignments, get their supplies ready, communicate with me a specific need, etc. Please also try to not pull your child out of school early for appointments or to beat the traffic. We only have 180 days of school, which is less than half of the calendar year. That is why I strongly encourage you to take trips/vacations during the scheduled breaks (e.g. winter, spring) instead of on school days.

Assignments for Absent Students
     If you absolutely must take a trip/vacation on school days, you might consider asking for your child’s assignments ahead of time. In the past, parents have requested to get their children’s assignments in advance because they are going on vacation or after their children have been home sick for a couple days. While I appreciate parents’ attempt to prevent their children from falling behind in class, the students’ work sits down in the office 80% of the time after I have compiled the work for them. Then, students or I have to go retrieve the materials from the office. Please pick up the work in a timely manner. Do not ask for the work to be put in the office if you cannot pick it up. If you do pick up your child’s work, please give it to them right away and/or don’t lose it. Students have to pay Hues (our classroom currency) for extra copies of assignments.

Staying Caught Up on Assignments
     I use Remind daily to communicate with my students and their families. Remind is a text-messaging and email system. All personal information remains completely confidential. Neither other parents nor I will see your phone number. For more information, visit I will do my best to notify you about upcoming tests, due dates of big projects, volunteer opportunities, announcements, school/class events, etc. I encourage you and/or your child to sign up as soon as possible. I value your time and support, so I try to only send important messages – usually 3-7 text messages each week. Text @heasley126 (if your child is Rebel) to 81010 or @heasley78 (if your child is a Seahawk) to 81010. I would be filled with joy and very grateful if all students and their parents enrolled in this free and helpful service. When you receive a Remind message, don’t assume your child has completed an assignment. Ask to see the assignment. If s/he says s/he already turned it in, check Skyward soon after to check that s/he did. If you choose not to sign up for Remind, please help your child develop and maintain a system (e.g. planner) for recording and remembering important information.

Missing Assignments
     Parents contact me multiple times a week asking about their children’s missing assignments. They want to know what is missing, what each assignment is, when it was due, etc. It is very time-consuming to reply to these emails and phone calls. Please refer to the course syllabus about routine assignments (e.g. reading log, vocab, geography challenge). Most of the recurring assignment materials can be found on our class website. For your child’s complete list of missing assignments, please consult Skyward. To access Skyward, visit our class website and hover over the Student Resources tab to find the link to it. If you don’t have access to Skyward yet, please call or email TVM’s main office. Or, you can use your child’s login information. S/he should have her/his username and password memorized. If not, it should be in the Google Doc titled “Skyward Password.” Once caught up, please encourage your child to stay caught up by turning in her/his assignments on time.

Reading Comprehension 
     Some parents express concern about their children’s low reading comprehension. We discuss strategies and practice skills in class. At home, you can support this learning by encouraging students to read 30 minutes a day. I suggest letting students read anything that interests them (e.g. novels, magazines, nonfiction books with pictures, graphic novels, comics, song lyrics, world record books). If you want your child to become a better reader, s/he needs to find value and purpose in reading texts that matter to them. I would even suggest that students write, as well, to become better readers. After engaging in three literacy events, please initial/sign your child’s reading log. Reading logs are two-week assignments due on Tuesdays.