Some of the most obvious and easily accessible resources are actually found at our local schools.
D. Wright from the Murray School District discuss ways you can help your kids succeed by using a variety of school resources.
1. Extra Curricular Before &/or After School programs – find out about these from flyers coming home from school with your kids, your school, school district or neighborhood newsletter; school or district website or teachers web page; also check out neighborhood store or library postings.
Here are some specific programs that you may find:
• Community Education – low tuition based classes that some school districts that may offer with offerings in crafts, dance, physical activity training, cooking, computers, music, drivers education, graduation completion, ESL, etc.
• Languages – before or after school programs sometimes offered, primarily in elementary schools
• Music – chorus, band, orchestra
• Sports Teams – often school associated, but others are sometimes offered through local youth training programs such as Boys & Girls Clubs, and occasionally run in school facilities
• Study Groups – study mentoring/assistance is organized in some schools, usually through grant resources
• Early Childhood Education – if associated with public schools, this would be curriculum based and administrated to state education standards
2. School Clubs – different than the Extra-curricular programs because they are mostly driven by student interest. Clubs can address unlimited interests that your child may have or talents that might be nurtured. There are clubs for all interests and all levels of abilities
Key Club – a National Honors Group
MESA – Math, Engineering and Science Achievement
Foreign Language/Ethnic Culture
Sports – Intramural or Club Sports, such as Lacrosse
… and many, many more depending upon interest levels and staff available to serve as sponsors
3. School Curriculum – This one is important and often overlooked or taken for granted! Parents should carefully scrutinize the course descriptions of both required and elective courses once their children move into the secondary schools. Even required courses may offer several options:
• AP/Advanced Placement – a more rigorous course of study for a more advanced student
• Concurrent enrollment – can provide college credit
• Honors classes – may make a difference when applying for scholarships.
4. School Counselors & School Support Team – Most schools have some kind of team in position to:
• Identify students that may have any type of need
• Put in motion the solution to fulfilling the need with the mutual goal of keeping that child in school to try to successfully prepare them for a productive life and career.
Valid needs may be as simple as helping a child find a lunch buddy, or working with a homeless child to find ways to provide food and housing.
Counselors can be found in all levels of Utah schools and they have the greatest knowledge to be able to link parents with help in many areas of need, including:
• Mental Health
• Community Agencies
• Academic & Career Counseling resources
5. FOR FINANCIALLY CHALLENGED FAMILIES: CRITICAL RESOURCES!
Fee Waivers and Free & Reduced Lunches – Financially challenged parents need to be sure to complete the paperwork for Fee Waivers and Free & Reduced Lunch application to be able to provide meals at school for their children. This is obviously a specific economic-based situation, but it is important that those families qualifying for this assistance be aware of the opportunities. Your school district or district website will have those forms and it is imperative that you fill them out if you qualify financially.
And… although not a school district resource, this one goes hand in hand in looking out for the well-being of children …
CHIPS – The Children’s Health Insurance Program – This is a wonderful Utah resource which is providing insurance for around 35,000 qualifying Utah children right now. It is always in Open Enrollment and also offers other family insurance ideas. Call 1-877-KIDS-NOW or check online at www.utahchip.org