Academic Minute Podcast

Suzanne McLeod, Binghamton University – 4 Ways to Get the New School Year Off to a Good Start

Are your kids ready to go back to school?

Suzanne McLeod, assistant Professor in the department of teaching, learning, and educational leadership at Binghamton University, looks at ways to soften the blow of the end of summer.

Suzanne McLeod is the Coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program at Binghamton University. She retired as the Superintendent of the Union Endicott Central School District in New York State. Previously, Suzanne worked as an Assistant Superintendent for Business, Curriculum Director, and building administrator at both the elementary and secondary levels. Suzanne has authored professional articles on the topics of trust, home schooling, bullying, and summer learning loss, the book A Principal’s Guide to No Child Left Behind, and teaches workshops to aspiring leaders.

4 Ways to Get the New School Year Off to a Good Start


As a former principal and superintendent, I’ve witnessed firsthand how some students struggle to adjust when a new school year begins.

Much was due to the anxiety over going to a new school or having to adapt to new friends, teachers and schedule. But sometimes it was the simple result of having gotten used to staying up late and sleeping in over the summer. The sudden change of having to wake up early to go to school can make kids very cranky.

Even though it can be challenging for some kids to start a new school year, there are a few simple steps that parents can take to make the process easier and less stressful. Here are four of my top recommendations:

  1. Reestablish a bedtime

Don’t wait until the night before the first day of school to bring back bedtime. Do it a week or two before school starts. Then, stick to the schedule throughout the school year. And, to ensure your child’s sleep is uninterrupted, keep technological devices out of the bedroom.

  1. Practice the morning routine

A week before school begins, start practicing the morning routine. Are clothes chosen and ready to go? Are lunches and snacks packed? Are backpacks packed and easy to find?

  1. Visit the school ahead of time

If possible, visit the school and practice walking to their classrooms. Many schools offer orientations for students and their caretakers.

  1. Sign up for after-school activities

Encourage your child to participate in two after-school activities, school- or community-based. The benefits of extracurricular activities: a stronger sense of belonging to the school community, higher grades and improved academic engagement, are maximized when after-school activities are limited to two.

Following these tips will hopefully help make sure the school year gets off to a good start.


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