OPINION

Washington School Principal Oliver: The Two Secrets to School Success!

Principal Denice Oliver
Principal Denice Oliver

I have truly been in education for decades! …first as a teacher and now as the proud principal of Washington School. Washington School houses ECFE, School Readiness and Kindergarten. I am now privileged to see former students bringing their children to Washington School! There are many things that have changed in education throughout the years but there are some things that remain constant…the two secrets to school success! I want to share these two secrets with parents. They stand the test of time, and are not really secrets at all, but lead students to success in school!

Number 1: Attendance…make sure your child comes to school every day! We want to help our students learn and grow but we need them present in school to make this happen. Minnesota adopted a Compulsory Attendance Law years ago because there were many students throughout the state that were not attending school on a regular basis. This has a huge impact on student learning. Research shows that students who miss 2 days of school a month, show poor academic progress. This adds up to 18 days a year or almost a full month of school. Someone once said to me, “It’s only Kindergarten”. It is in Kindergarten that children learn how to read books. Every minute counts…even being 10 minutes late for school each day can equal 33 hours of class time lost. If this happens every year from kindergarten to Grade 12, the student will miss over a year of accumulated time in the classroom. COVID-19 has definitely hurt our attendance! This means that every day a child is healthy we want them in school.

Number 2: Sleep…make sure your child gets enough sleep each night! Lack of sleep can make children irritable and have a difficult time self-regulating and managing their emotions. This impacts their ability to engage and interact with others in a positive way. They also are unable to concentrate and focus which impacts their ability to learn. When a child is sleeping, the body is busy developing new brain cells. If the body and brain can’t rest, it is very difficult for children to learn and grow. Research shows students who are 4 to 7 years old need 10-12 hours of sleep a night. Students 8 to 12 years of age need 9-10 hours of sleep each night.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated”: Monday thru Friday...Go to bed early…wake up and go to school…Go to bed early…wake up and go to school…Go to bed early…wake up and go to school = SCHOOL SUCCESS!

“Teachers can open the door, but you must enter it yourself.” ~Chinese proverb…Please help your child be successful in school with just two secrets!

Washington School Principal Denice Oliver receives an award on behalf of the school at Night to Unite in 2016