5 Key Skills for Academic Success

There are a lot of different skills that your child needs to develop in order to be successful at school. Great Schools! has a new article out on how to help your child learn the five key skills they need to succeed.

The article recommends starting with a simple conversation with your child—what are their goals, what subjects do they like, what class do they dread, and more. As you listen to your child, try to puzzle out which of the five key skills they are struggling with. Those skills are:

  1. Organization
  2. Time Management
  3. Prioritization
  4. Concentration
  5. Motivation

For each of those five skills, the article provides you with tips on how to support your child and improve their skill in that area. Keep in mind that your child may be reluctant to try new ideas, worry about failing, or think they are just can’t do a subject, but by praising their successes, you can help them build a growth mindsetthat will help them succeed.

Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes.

New Tools to Help with Preparing for College

Planning for college can be confusing and overwhelming, whether your child will be the first in your family to attend or not. The Illinois Student Advisory Council(ISAC) has a student portalloaded with tools to help your family through the process. Some new resources and tools have recently been added to the site.

ILCollege2Career debuted at the beginning of the month. This new tool links employment and higher education data so that students can compare the relative earnings value of different college degrees. The data is broken down by schools and area of study so that students can compare the earnings potential of business degrees, for example, from different public and private institutions in the state. The tool will help students and families make college decisions based on the real-time successes of a school’s graduates, as well as other factors such as cost, average debt levels, and the likelihood of graduating on time. The site is available in both English and Spanish.

ILCollege2Career is just one of the resourcesprovided on the ISAC student portal. ISAC’s toolboxalso provides:

  • A checklist to guide your child and your family through the process from freshman year of high school through graduation.
  • MAP Estimator tool to help you find out if your child will be eligible for a MAP grant. Note that MAP grants are not student loans and are not paid back to the state after graduation.
  • A Job Board to find internships and summer jobs.
  • A Financial Aid Comparison Worksheet to easily compare the different financial aid offers from colleges.
  • The PaCE Student Checklistto explore activities and experiences from grades 8 through 12 to help prepare for college and career.

ISAC also has an event calendar filled with financial aid presentations and (after October 1st) FAFSA completion workshops. These events are held across the state, and the calendar lets you enter your ZIP code to find one near you. If there isn’t an event near you or one that fits in your schedule, you can contact an ISACorpsmember near you for free one-on-one assistance for help with selecting and applying to colleges, searching for scholarships, FAFSA completion, and student financial aid. ISAC also has a new printable checklistto guide and encourage your student through all the steps and classes needed to prepare for college.

New Survey Reveals How Teens’ Social Media Experiences

Common Sense Media, a non-profit dedicating to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology, has just released a new report detailing their survey of teenagers and their experiences with social media. The report, Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences, covers a nationally representative survey of over 1,000 kids ages 13 to 17 regarding their social media experiences and tracks changes from a similar survey done in 2012.

The key findings of the report are:

  1. Social media use among teens has increased dramatically since 2012.
  2. Only a few teens say that using social media has a negative effect on how they feel about themselves; many more say it has a positive effect.
  3. Social media has a heightened role—both positive and negative—in the lives of more vulnerable teens.
  4. Teens’ preferences for face-to-face communication with friends has declined substantially, and their perception of social media’s interference with personal interactions has increased.
  5. Many teens think tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices and say that digital distractions interfere with homework, personal relationships, and sleep.
  6. Teens have a decidedly mixed record when it comes to self-regulating device use.
  7. There has been an uptick in teens’ exposure to racist, sexist, and homophobic content on social media, ranging from an increase of 8 to 12 percentage points.
  8. Some teens have been cyberbullied, including about one in 10 who say their cyberbullying was at least “somewhat” serious.
  9. Social media is an important avenue of creative expression for many teens.

The full reportalso includes useful information on which social media platforms teens use, advice from experts on how to deal with your child’s social media use, and much more. The websitealso provides links to an easily sharable infographic, a summary of the key findings, and a short video on the report.

What PTAs Can Do

The results of this survey provide several ways that PTAs can help families manage their teen’s social media use.

PTA Celebrates Back-to-School Week September 17-21

Next week, PTAs across the country will celebrate National PTA Back-to-School Week. Each day of Back-to-School Week will highlight and provide tips and resources for the people who support our children’s learning and success.

  • Monday, September 17: PTA Leaders
  • Tuesday, September 18: Parents
  • Wednesday, September 19: Students
  • Thursday, September 20: Teachers
  • Friday, September 21: Office Depot Day (National PTA sponsor of Back-to-School Week)

These highlights and resources include:

And there are many more resources at the Back-to-School Week website. Take advantage of these resources, new grant opportunities, and more to make the 2018-2019 school year a huge success for your PTA, your children, your families, and your school. Follow the hashtag #PTABackToSchoolto see what PTAs across the country are doing to celebrate Back-to-School Week.