Developing successful students

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last week, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report that credits Missouri with some of the highest academic performance standards in the country. According to the report, in four areas measured, fourth and eighth grade reading and math, Missouri's standards rank among the top three states in the nation. An analysis conducted by NCES evaluates academic proficiency standards set by each state and compares those standards using the National Assessment of Education Progress.

According to NCES, Missouri ranks number one in rigor for eighth grade reading. Our state placed second to Massachusetts in fourth grade reading and mathematics and third behind Massachusetts and Washington in eighth grade mathematics. By setting high reading and math standards, Missouri challenges the state's fourth and eighth grade students to become some of the top students in the nation.

The report, released by NCES and shared with school districts across the state by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), reveals exciting news, but these statistics should not be anything new to parents of students attending southern Barry County schools. Each year, DESE releases a list of districts that have achieved the Distinction in Performance Award for the previous academic year. The honor is based on academic performance standards that are used in accreditation of public schools across the state. More than half of our local school districts achieved DESE's Distinction in Performance Awards last year, and three of the four honored districts have received the distinguished award more than once.

This year, as students begin classes, I would like to encourage area parents to partner with districts to help students become even more successful. According to the United States Department of Education, helping their child become a successful reader is the single most important thing a parent can do to help their child succeed in school. Parents can help children build a foundation for reading long before they are old enough to attend school by reading to and around their children.

The U.S. Department of Education offers the following tips that parents can use to help their children become more successful in school:

* Talk with your child. Having a conversation with your child can help him or her build language skills at a young age. Later, these conversations teach children how to listen, another important skill for a successful student.

* Monitor homework. Let your child know that education is important by ensuring homework is completed. Encourage good study habits by designating a quiet place where your child can complete their homework.

* Limit TV viewing and video game playing. Model good TV viewing habits, and watch TV with your child. Encourage an environment that offers time away from the television to read, do homework, play or participate in family activities.

* Take your child to the library. Using the library teaches children responsibility, such as handling objects carefully and returning loaned items on time. Children also learn respect through interactions with others at the library.

* Encourage active learning. In addition to reading and doing homework, parents should teach children to play and participate in sports and other activities. Teaching children the importance of remaining active encourages healthier habits throughout their lives.

Good luck to all area students this school year. I can't wait to report on your successes!

~ Lindsay Reed