One day, sooner than we all want to admit, your Lower Schooler is heading off to college. Crazy subject, yeah, but we're all thinking it. So, it doesn't matter if your day is five years away or next year for our high school parents, the day is, indeed, beaconing. How will we all be able to shake hands at graduation as parents offer a sincere, "Thank you" to beloved teachers and coaches while those on the receiving end receive the adulation with frankness, sincerity, and sympathy?
It could start now. These times are surely moving fast, and I don't mean the culture. Just abiding by the schedules of young people is enough to mandate some organizational profession in our lives. Given that we have various priorities, from marriages to jobs, from civic commitments to extended family responsibilities, how are we going to manage and enjoy our children in the process?
As September knocks on the door, with a few weeks of academics and extra-curricular activities under our belts, we at least have a taste of what we are all up against this semester... forget this college discussion. Our professional priorities at school for mothers and fathers lay in attempting to answer and anticipate parental questions as we partner in the process of seeing that the student under our care is guided and encouraged towards his responsibilities.
We ask that you take some time over the next week and make sure of 5 things: that you can 1. regularly access your son's assignments as given on the assignment grabber (see your son for details), 2. regularly verify that he is transcribing those assignments into his assignment book as he 3. does his homework faithfully, thoroughly each night. You can 4. check to see what grades he is recording in that assignment book, and you can 5. use that information to discuss with him and us how you think he is doing towards his responsibilities. It's fairly straight-up, but it requires you checking in on him. We keep tabs, we record grades, we counsel as needed, but the ratio for you and your son works more efficiently for immediate feedback.
Please, check-in with your son, and email us (left column on this page) if you have any questions before September begins. We want as smooth a family environment as possible, and from the school's standpoint, it begins with daily accountability in the small things. College will take care of itself.
Looks like screen time is depriving brains of needed rest. While popular discussion in some circles may have claimed such all along, studies are showing that kids who bounce around from gaming devices to computer screens to television may be unwittingly setting themselves significantly behind. Parents, practice what you preach, and consider Junior's health in the process. We all have exposure on this one.
All LowerSchool dads are invited
to a coffee this Wednesday, August 25, at 7:15 a.m. in the Wiener
Hospitality Room, which is located off the lobby of the Sue Hyde
Gym. This will be a time to get to know new dads, and visit with
ones you already know. The goal is to establish a comfortable and
encouraging partnership with other dads going through the “teenage years” with
their sons in what too often is a toxic culture. A light breakfast will
"Parenting and teaching are both leadership
activities. Unfortunately, today's parents and teachers are
all too likely to be operating as if their primary goal is to establish
wonderful relationships with their children and students. Leaders, however, must guard against letting the
desire for relationship undermine leadership.The attempt on the part of a person in a leadership position
to establish wonderful relationships reflects insecurity, which opens the door
to disrespect. Besides, by putting leadership first, good relationship
Parents are welcome to say "good-bye" to their college kids. The new practices of formally escorting moms and dads off campus once they deliver their sons and daughters to college is a growing trend sure to cause some anxiety. I remember loading my Buick Skylark to the brim one steamy September day in 1985, hugging mom and dad, squeezing the dog, and then lumbering off to Knoxville, some 386 miles away... by myself. Many of you parents probably did the same.
It's a different day at the dawn of the 21st Century, and for those of us who probably grew up a bit more "hands-off" opposed to the current trend of the helicopter parent, if we're honest, we may admit that things were a bit loose in the 1970s and 1980s in comparison to today, and it sure wasn't ideal. That said, here we are. We made it, some worse for the wear, but accordingly seasoned. True, an Assignment Book policy back in the day would have helped me tremendously, and ASAP would have forced me to stop procrastinating with my dreaded homework. Today, we deliberately add these things to encourage some discipline for the boys, however, we want them to learn the intrinsic benefit of organization and planning and the freedom that comes with it.
So, where do parents come in? If colleges are telling you to back off when you deliver your beloveds to far and away places, we encourage you to start the process, ever so slightly, in the Lower School. The Assignment Book is a tool for students to experience planning and for parents to hold boys accountable. It's incredibly straight forward. Please discuss in your homes how you plan to offer structure and guidance in these learning years ramping up to college. Each family will initiate their ownstrategery, as they should, and we teachers plan on a lot of immediate accountability for these boys in anticipation of your gradual withdrawal.
These chipper fellows, all new eighth-graders at MUS, just got wind of the Assignment Book rules and regulations! Yippee! (Shhhh... There an AB is, comfortably out of both sight and mind on the floor 'neath the feet!) All students should be sure to have their books completely filled out for the upcoming week once they download and transcribe their assignments over the weekend. It may seem too much to ask, thirteen and fourteen-year-olds pulling up the Assignment Grabber, locating their assignments, and meticulously transferring the content word-for-word onto their upcoming week's pages, but the practice is just the beginning of the boys being able to learn how best to plan their work as they faithfully work their plan. These guys have a lot on their plates, and without a clearly recorded AB, the chances of completing homework and meeting appoints are indeed compromised.
In addition, parents are reminded that the boys record every graded assignment returned to them in class before they faithfully record said graded assignment in the rear section of the AB in accordance with the specific subject heading. We don't want any surprises come formal recorded grades, and the simplicity of the program is sure to cause selective avoidance and denial. Therefore, random audits of the completed ABs are sure to encourage compliance. We appreciate everyone's diligence. It's for the boys' own good.
Not the best news being reported about falling ACT scores from the local public schools. Their numbers are reflective of non college-bound students, unlike our students, so one would suspect results to be lower in comparison to a public school optional program or a college-prep independent or private school.
That said, MUS reports a 2010 composite ACT score of 28.4, our highest composite score over the last five years. The Tennessee state composite score (all public high schools) for 2010 is 19.6. Independent and private schools across the state are not included in this scoring, so one would have to contact one of these individual schools in order to get their score.
Apples to apples comparisons are illusive in much of life, and the often subjective exercise, whatever the categories for comparison are, should be entered into with some goal in mind. In the case of college being a goal for our boys, MUS averaging an ACT right at 28 over the last five years should send a clear message that we serve a seriously minded student base that consistently performs quite well on this test. The scores closely correlate to our annual 100% college acceptance rate, true, and, more importantly, reveal the opportunity for our boys to choose from among a fair number of colleges and universities that best complement each student. Our college advising folks add significant value to the MUS experience by assisting that fit, and with strong scores, the boys obviously help their own cases.
Life is more than test scores, though, and while our mission prioritizes "college preparatory school dedicated to academic excellence," the conjunction "and" immediate follows the academic emphasis with "well-rounded young men of strong moral character." It's a great mission statement, and the connection between a student's strong academics and his diverse life exposure and personal integrity is arguably about the best purpose a school could conceive for it's students.
A whole lot happens to these boys before we meet them at 12-years-old, and while we strive to add to their plates while they're on our watch, parents and grandparents and friends and circumstances cumulatively combine to shape the "28.4 average ACT" boy into much more than simply a qualified college candidate. We're starting the honing process anew with 100-some seventh-grade boys this semester, and we look forward to perpetuating the high standards with the continued aid of those outside influences.
Mr. Batey announces our first Civic Service Activity; this Saturday— Help Colonel Jeff Clark, precinct commander, by washing
squad cars at the Tillman Precinct station. We suggest that our boys get on the good side of the Police while they're still young.