Question: College? When do we start talking about college? Answer: NOW!

by California State PTA Family Engagement Commission Consultant, Kelly Mattinson

The best time to discuss and prepare for college is now. That said, your three-year-old does not need to decide where they are going to college BUT open discussion about attending college can be a common topic at the dinner table, no matter what age your kids are.  

I was raised in a family where college was expected.  Now, college is not for everyone, but in today’s world, a college degree is comparable to my mom’s high school degree.  I don’t say that lightly, the world is very complicated and a degree (a focused area of education) is going to help you succeed in a specific career, but success does not rely solely on a piece of paper.   College is not for everyone, the trades are VITAL and we will discuss that at another time, but for today we are focused on opening the conversation about high learning.  

When you are taking vacations/road trips as a family, why not drive through some of the wonderful colleges and universities in our world?  That being said, there are over 5,000 Universities in the US alone, so you won’t see them all.  Visiting campuses is fun. Each one is unique, many have a rich history and often the architecture is lovely.  Touring just opens the conversation about life post-high school.  

Watching movies, sporting events, and seeing where family and friends attend can also help you discover Universities that you didn’t know existed.   Use your PTA resources, encourage guest speakers to come to meetings, visit college fairs and see what the world offers. Exposure and investigation is necessary to choose the best college path for your individual student’s needs. It plants the seeds and will allow them to grow as your child matures.

My recommendation is to deal with each life chapter as it comes, elementary students should focus on their experience, middle schoolers the same – new exposures with electives and extracurriculars widen their experience and open it for high school life.  Please let your high schooler be a HIGH schooler.  Whether you loved high school or not; it is the time to learn a great deal about the world, other people, values, and what topics interest your student.  A well-rounded High School experience, coupled with familiarity with what’s out there, will help your student choose the college that fits them best when the time comes.

Once your high school student is adjusted to high school life, get ready to plunge into the college search. In other words, serious college exploration should begin in High School.   

Each young person’s journey is their own, each of your children will have a unique voyage… just support, share and keep an open mind to THEIR path and you will create a successful and happy citizen.  That is what is most important, don’t you agree?

September 12- Grandparents Day

by Family Engagement Commission

Grandparents Day Image

On September 12th we celebrate Grandparents Day to honor all of the contributions that grandparents have made in our lives.  While it can be a wonderful idea to bring grandparents to campus for some sort of celebration, we need to remember that not every child has a relationship with their grandparents, some grandparents live too far away to attend, and due to health challenges some grandparents may not feel safe venturing on to a school campus.   

In order to be more inclusive and responsive to the issues above, many schools celebrate a Very Special Person Day, Intergenerational Day, Grandfriends Day, or a  Special Friends Day that would allow children to indicate a grandparent or another significant person in their lives to be recognized.  

Here are a few ideas to have a fun (and inclusive) Grandparents Day celebration at school:

  • To ensure that every child can participate you can do things like buddy up children whose grandparents can’t attend with students who do have grandparents in attendance or invite other special guests (district administrators, community business owners, etc.) to attend and be paired with students who don’t have someone in attendance. 
  • You could work with parents to ask grandparents or special friends to send in a video message, card, or letter that could be part of a classroom celebration.  This way you don’t have to worry about visitors on campus, but everyone can still celebrate this special day.
  • Remember that some grandparents have more than one child at a school, so you need to consider this as you plan your event.  If the grandparents are expected to visit the classroom for part of the day, you might want to stagger the times so that grandparents could visit every grandchild who attends that school.
  • Have grandparents act as celebrity readers for classrooms (they can either do this live or virtually).  This is a great way to combine literacy with a fun, community-building activity! And all the kids can have an “adopted” grandparent.
  • Ask students to interview a grandparent or other special adult and share what they have learned with the class.  This helps families whose grandparents live too far away or are unable to travel still feel like they are a part of the celebration. 
  • For a high school spin on this activity– have a “Senior” section at the football game and invite grandparents and other local seniors to attend.  This is a fun way to bring seniors onto the campus to interact with the high school students.
  • Another idea for middle school or high school students is to have them organize a “Senior Prom” or dance for local seniors.  They can help decorate, select the music and the food and then the night of the event they can “chaperone” and dance with the senior citizens.  
  • Always remember to ask grandparents to join the PTA whether your event is in person or virtual.  We love having grandparents or special friends as PTA members!

Do you have plans for Grandparents Day?  We would love to hear about it!  Please use this form to share with us your ideas and they may be featured on our blog or social media!