Help your family transition into the best fall you’ve ever had with these expert tips on studying, bonding, relaxing, praying and focusing, as shared by leading educators in our community.
by Kate Hartley
FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
With all the transitions of fall, it’s easy to lose sight of your top priorities in the shuffle. Here’s a simple but powerful list to keep you and your family on track with what matters most, provided by Jeanine Marlow, Director of Communications and Marketing at Cornerstone Preparatory Academy in Acworth.
1. BE PATIENT.
• Allow extra grace in all areas.
• Make time for God each day and encourage your child to do the same.
• Find the right balance. Don’t over commit, but, rather, stay in tune with your child when planning your family’s schedule or signing up for activities.
2. BE PREPARED.
• A place for everything and everything in its place. Help your child set up a designated study area or caddy of supplies for homework.
• Set clear rules and expectations up front. Discuss your expectations with your child – whether academic, social or behavioral – and give him a chance to share his with you, as well.
• Communicate and connect. Communicate with your child’s teachers and stay connected to what’s going on at school.
3. BE PUMPED.
• Pray with your child.
• Encourage your child each day.
• Always be positive and encouraging about your child’s school and teachers. If you anticipate and verbalize positively about the school year, so will your child.
ABOUT THE EXPERT | Cornerstone Prep is an innovative K-12 University-Model school where parents and teachers partner together to provide students with an academically challenging, college-preparatory, biblically based education. Visit a monthly information meeting to discover more about this cost-effective and unique educational model. For dates and times for required information meetings, visit cornerstoneprep.org. 3588 Hickory Grove Road, Acworth. 770-529-7077, facebook.com/cornerstone.cpa
BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
North Cobb Christian School’s middle and upper school students may be the only adolescents who couldn’t wait for school to start – for one primary reason: Fall Retreat. The school has an annual tradition of taking all sixth through twelfth graders on a week long retreat at the start of a new school year.
“Fall Retreat sparks strong bonds that set an amazing, positive tone for the whole school year,” says Nathan Wright, NCCS Director of Student Life. “The whole idea is that we take time at the beginning of the year to get away from the school campus and build relationships. It’s critical that each student in our school community has strong relationships with other students, with our faculty and staff, and most of all, with the Lord. We have a lot of fun together, but we also experience some powerful moments of worship and moving of the Holy Spirit.”
For new students, they find that after the retreat, they don’t feel so “new” anymore. “After the retreat, we say there are no ‘new students;’ everyone is just part of NCCS,” says Nathan, who notes that the retreat originated as an idea just for seniors, but spread over the years to encompass all of middle and upper school. “It’s one of the biggest highlights of each year and a huge part of our culture and tradition at North Cobb Christian School.”
ABOUT THE EXPERT | North Cobb Christian School’s mission is straightforward: We exist to nurture the hearts and minds of students so that each may realize their potential in Christ. Nathan says, “Whether a student enters NCCS in K-3, twelfth grade, or anywhere in-between, our programs are designed to be challenging and thought-provoking, as well as to offer exceptional opportunities in academics, arts, athletics and student life. Our graduates frequently contact us to share how well equipped they were to confront spiritual, academic and social challenges because of North Cobb Christian School.” 4500 Eagle Drive, Kennesaw. 770-975-0252. ncchristian.org, facebook.com/NorthCobbChristianSchool, find NCCSEagles on Twitter and IG.
NURTURE SECURITY & IDENTITY
When it comes to ensuring the success of every student, the teachers and staff at GRACEPOINT School in Marietta are pros. This unique private school was planted six years ago when Molly Holm and her good friend Angie Strack both found themselves searching for the best school to serve their dyslexic sons. Though starting their own school seemed daunting, they did it for their boys. Since, GRACEPOINT has grown from four students to over 100. Here, Head of School Joy Wood shares the foundation necessary for every child to succeed.
“Two words that come to mind as critical for all children to succeed are security and identity,” says Joy. “Children must feel safe and secure in their environment, and they must believe in their innate ability to succeed.”
Security is best achieved through consistent routines, Joy shares. “When a family has a dedicated homework area and time, as well as regular mealtimes, playtimes and bedtimes, the result is a very secure environment for the child,” she explains. “Preparing for the school day by packing lunches and placing book bags by the door the night before will cut down on stressful mornings, too.”
As for identity, give your children opportunities to explore what makes them tick. “At GRACEPOINT, we believe that God has given each of us talents and abilities to use for His glory, and it’s part of our mission to draw those unique strengths out of our students,” says Joy. “Offer your child opportunities to develop interests and a sense of identity outside of school through music, dance, sports or art.” Then, at the end of each week, “Celebrate!” says Joy. “Rejoice with your child over all they accomplished and learned.”
ABOUT THE EXPERT | Students at GRACEPOINT are taught using the Orton-Gillingham method, and this multisensory approach is woven into all subject areas. Students receive 75 minutes of explicit reading instruction daily by a certifi ed Orton-Gillingham teacher. The student-teacher ratio is 5:1 in reading, and 8:1 in all other core subjects. The goal is for students to transition out of GRACEPOINT with the tools necessary to be successful in our world and with a confidence that only comes from knowing who they are in Christ. 570 Piedmont Road, Marietta. 678-709-6634. gracepointschool.org, facebook.com/gracepointschool