November-December Message from the Superintendent:
17 days ago
Dear Coalinga-Huron Community,
Halloween has come and gone and Daylight Savings time too! As we head into winter, it is now the time of year when we're reminded to give thanks. Each day is a unique gift. Give a hug for no reason; share a smile with a stranger; take the time to count your blessings; don’t take anything or anyone for granted. Thank your teachers, your students, your family and friends for being part of your life--for sharing and caring in your life.
As you know, compulsory daily school attendance is a requirement for all students ages 6-18. Daily attendance fosters improvement in student achievement and we in CHUSD need your support in making sure children come to school daily.
When a student is absent from school, it affects our Average Daily Attendance (ADA) resulting in lost revenue for our school and the district. Every day a student attends school we receive $52 per student. Since July 1, 1998, school districts no longer receive funding from the State of California for students who are absent from school. We do not receive funding for any absence (excused or unexcused) including those related to illness, medical or doctor appointments or for the purpose of attending funeral services. In other words, schools will receive state funding only for students who actually attend school. If a child is absent for any reason, we lose revenue. Since the start of school in late August, CHUSD has lost over $441,324, nearly half a million dollars in lost revenue from student absences.
The following are examples of non-excused absences: Vacations, student’s birthday, visiting relatives, oversleeping, parent requiring student to perform childcare, family changing residence within the school district, car trouble, or shopping. Schedule vacations to coincide with the district’s 2015-16 instructional calendar (check the district web site). The winter and spring breaks along with school holidays are the appropriate times to plan vacations. Remember, both non-excused and excused absences result in loss of funding for us, and a loss of instructional time for your student.
When should you keep your child home from school? If your child has a fever above 99.9 or is throwing up s/he should be kept home from school. Doctor and dentist appointments should be scheduled so that your child is here for a minimum of 4 full hours of school to avoid loss of ADA.
We need your help. Please make sure your child is at school all day every day except when they are sick (as described above) so that teachers may teach and your student may learn in the classroom.
Social and Emotional Learning
In prior newsletters I have described how important the contributions of families and caregivers are to each student’s ability to be successful at school. I would like to share with you ten things you can do a home to increase social and emotional learning in your student:
1. Focus on strengths. When your child brings home a test, talk first about what he or she did well. Then talk about what can be improved. Praise specific strengths. Don’t just criticize things that were done wrong.
2. Follow up with consequences for misbehavior. Sometimes parents say things in anger that don’t curb the behavior in the long run. You might say, “Because of what you did, no television for a month.” Both you and your child know that after one or two days the TV will go back on. Decide on consequences that are fair, and then carry them out.
3. Ask children how they feel. When you ask your child about his or her feelings, the message is that feelings matter and you care.
4. Find ways to stay calm when angry. It’s normal to get angry or irritated sometimes. Learn to recognize “trigger situations” and do something about them before you lose control. Try taking deep breaths for a few moments. Consider having a “quiet area” where people can go when they are upset. Or you can just stop talking and leave the room for a while. Sit down as a family and talk about what everyone can do to stay calm.
5. Avoid humiliating or mocking your child. This can make children feel bad about themselves. It can lead to a lack of self-confidence and, in turn, problems with schoolwork, illness, and trouble getting along with friends. Unfair criticism and sarcasm also hurts the bond of trust between children and parents. Be mindful of how you speak to your children. Give them the room to make mistakes as they learn new skills.
6. Be willing to apologize. Parents need to be able to apologize to their children if what they said was not what they meant. Calmly explain what you really wanted to say. By doing this you’re being a good role model. You’re showing how important it is to apologize after hurting someone. You’re teaching that it’s possible to work through problems with respect for the other person.
7. Give children choices and respect their wishes. When children have a chance to make choices, they learn how to solve problems. If you make all of their choices for them, they’ll never learn this key skill. Giving children ways to express preferences and make decisions shows that their ideas and feelings matter.
8. Ask questions that help children solve problems on their own. When parents hear their child has a problem, it’s tempting to step in and take over. But this can harm a child’s ability to find solutions on his or her own. A helpful approach is to ask good questions. Examples include, “What do you think you can do in this situation?” and “If you choose a particular solution, what will be the consequences of that choice?”
9. Read books and stories together. Reading stories aloud is a way to share something enjoyable and learn together about other people. For example, stories can be a way to explore how people deal with common issues like making or losing friends or handling conflicts. Ask your child’s teacher or a librarian to recommend stories or themes that interest you and your children.
10. Encourage sharing and helping. There are many ways to do this. Together you and your child can prepare food in a homeless shelter or go on a fund-raising walk-a-thon. You can help out elderly neighbors or needy families. This teaches children that what they do can make a difference in the lives of others.
As Superintendent of CHUSD, I remind myself daily how fortunate I am to have each and every one of you in my life, and I am thankful you have allowed me to be a part of yours. May you and yours have a safe and memorable Thanksgiving and Winter Break.
Helen K. Foster, Ed.D.