Friday, January 29, 2016

Parents and reading

Radio Commentary

Sometimes the list of parental responsibilities can appear to be overwhelming. Generations ago it seemed sufficient to feed, clothe, and house a child, providing love and warmth whenever possible.

But the list of “must-do’s” has grown through the generations, and the impact of parental involvement has come into focus.

One item on the list, as most parents know, is the “must-do” of encouraging reading. And it’s clear that most parents are doing a good job of encouraging young children to read.
But research shows that their help plummets drastically once youngsters reach age nine.

A recent study showed that more than half the parents with children under age nine said they read with their children every day.
But only 13 percent of parents with older children reported that they read with them on a daily basis. And shortly after parental reading involvement drops, a child’s television viewing increases dramatically.

As the late Al Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said: “Parents are doing a good job of helping their children learn to read. But they give up too soon. Once a child begins to read independently, a parent’s job isn’t over. It simply changes.”

The study found that teachers see a major gain in reading ability when parents remain involved.

As parents review their “must-do” list of responsibilities, reading should remain high on that list.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Local Leaders with Bill Cirone

Neil Dayal
Raytheon, Partners in Education

Local Leaders with Bill Cirone

Chris Gocong
Former NFL Player

Listen to your kids

Radio Commentary

One of the simplest parent tips is one that is often overlooked because it is so obvious:

Listen to your children.

As the saying goes, there is a reason we are given two ears and one mouth.

For parents it is tempting to reverse the ratio and do more talking than listening. After all, there is so much we want our children to learn and do. We are the source of much knowledge, and there is a powerful urge to share it often.

And, of course, talking to children is very good for them. It helps them acquire more of the subtleties of language.

But children also need to talk and to be heard.

When you listen carefully to what children are saying, you send the clear message, “You matter to me. I care about what you have to say. Your ideas and opinions are worthy of being heard.” 

Those are powerful messages for children to absorb.

The best advice is to slow down, face your child, even get down to his level, wait, and listen carefully to what he or she has to say.

Avoid the temptation to talk over your children. Don’t finish their thoughts, even if their speech is halting or they are searching for words. Let them find the words on their own, or help with gentle prompting.

Don’t hurry your child to get on with it. Be patient. The time you spend listening will bear long-terms dividends for both of you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Effective families

Radio Commentary

In a report titled “The Evidence Continues to Grow,” the National Committee for Citizens in Education made a strong case for parental involvement in education.

The report found that effective families have several definable characteristics. These included:

  • A feeling of control over their lives — individually, and as a group
  • Frequent communication of high expectations to the children
  • A family dream of success for the future for all members
  • A consistent message that hard work is the key to success
  • An active lifestyle involving physical activities
  • A view of the family as a mutual support system and an effective problem-solving unit
  • Clearly understood household rules, that are consistently enforced, and
  • Frequent contact with teachers by at least one parent, and both if possible.

The report maintained that this type of family lifestyle helps lead to a child’s increased self-confidence and self-control.

These characteristics create a protective network that is an ongoing source of strength and support for young and old alike.

In families with these traits, parents tell their children through their attitudes, behavior, and encouragement that they can succeed in school and in life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gerry Jones’s spirit will live on

By Bill Cirone

Once in a while something takes place that reinforces how powerful and utterly essential teaching is as a profession. We received just such a sad reminder of that fact with the recent passing of Geraldine Jones, who embodied all that is noble, selfless, and vital about teaching.

As a highly skilled, impressive new first grade teacher in the Hope School District in 1952, Gerry became the very first National Teacher of the Year. It was an award McCall’s magazine had created to address the national teacher shortage and encourage young people to enter the profession. The publisher said at the time that an important goal was to bolster public confidence in education. It is an issue that endures to this day.

Gerry traveled to the White House where she was honored by President Harry Truman and then-Senator Richard Nixon. “This honor is for the entire teaching profession,” she said at the time. I personally thank all teachers everywhere for the opportunity to represent them. I humbly live in their glory.” 

She was always a reluctant celebrity.

That attitude of humility reflects the culture of teachers everywhere, who quietly go about the business of instilling young children with skills needed for learning and for life.

And the cycle continues. With wonderful irony, in 2014 Allison Heiduk, a third grade teacher also in the Hope School District, was named County Teacher of the Year. Three of Allison’s siblings had been in Gerry Jones’ first grade class long ago. We were so pleased that Gerry was able to join the “Salute to Teachers” celebration at Bacara Spa and Resort that spring when Allison’s award was announced, more than 50 years after Gerry had been in the spotlight. It was wonderful to honor Gerry’s legacy in the presence of her daughter Marcey and four generations of teachers and students who followed her. Gerry’s joy was clear.

It is no exaggeration to say that teachers infuse our democracy with the elements needed for its survival.

All teachers — whether public school teachers plying their trade in a classroom or moms teaching their own children at home — give vital knowledge and skills to our young people. They make sure children are armed with the tools to work, to thrive, and to vote responsibly as adults, continuing the essential traditions of democracy.

We know the value of teachers. We know there could be no other professions without them. We know that all the ”self taught” individuals first had to learn to read and compute and reason before they could take those skills and move forward on their own.

In a sense, teachers insure their own immortality by sending messages to the future through all the young lives they touch. Geraldine Jones was the embodiment of the virtues of a good teacher, and that spirit will be immortal.

We are grateful for all the gifts she gave, and we are happy to use this chance to salute all the teachers at every level who make a difference every day in the lives of the children they teach and the community they serve.

Gerry would have wanted that.

Charting success

Radio Commentary

It can be fun for children to create a “success chart” by designing a bar graph or a line graph to show progress on various tasks.

Be sure to keep the goals realistic. You might want to coordinate the plan with your child’s teacher, factoring in school effort or improvement.

Start out with small goals so your child can gain some positive momentum that can lead to larger successes. Talk with your child to increase their understanding and buy-in.

Building in incentives can be an important part of this activity.

Figure out what types of incentives work best in your family.

Rewards like a family activity, movie, or a computer game rental might be the right way to go.

Monetary rewards for reaching a goal might be appropriate if children learn to save it for something they really want, or use it to support an important cause.

Though positive reinforcement is an effective tool in changing behavior, everyone reacts differently. What is right for one child might not work well for another, so work with each child individually.

Allowing your children to chart their own progress is a great way for them to see and experience results.

And seeing improvement in such a graphic fashion can show them that their efforts do actually pay off. The hope is that they will see that hard work yields graphic results. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Help users

Radio Commentary

Federal drug-control agencies urge schools to help students who use drugs, not just toss them off campus.
Guidelines in a report released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy a few years ago urged treatment and counseling for high school drug users, rather than simply suspending or expelling them.

“The goal is to say we believe we can do a better job of making kids healthy,” said John Walters, who directed the office.
The report said that kicking students out of school without treatment can create “drug-using dropouts,” which is an even bigger problem.
The advice challenges policies in many districts that automatically suspend or expel students caught with drugs.
Kathleen Lyons, spokeswoman for the National Education Association, said her group would back those guidelines.

“That's what we would endorse, helping kids, not simply punishing them,” she said.

She added, “It doesn't do anybody any good just to take a drug test and kick the kid out of school — where's he going to go? It doesn't solve anyone's problem and may, in fact, worsen it.”

Reasonable people can disagree, but I believe this approach makes a lot of sense as we continue to help students overcome drug dependence and pursue healthy lifestyles.   

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fitness for children

Radio Commentary

Experts say that many American children may be on their way to an inactive adulthood, based on observations of how they spend their days.

That thought is a bit frightening, considering that physical inactivity is one of the primary risk factors for heart disease.
Experts agree that coronary disease is a hereditary condition, but behaviors that begin in childhood can increase or decrease the risk of heart disease.

Here are some ways to help children get fit and stay fit, for a lifetime of healthy living:
  • First, provide a good example yourself. Children who have active parents are more likely to be active than children who do not. Plan family activities, or even after-dinner walks, several times a week. Make these activities fun for all involved.
  • Make sure children are active at home. Keep sports equipment on hand and encourage lifelong activities such as tennis, biking, or running. Children who enjoy these activities may well continue them into adulthood.
  • Unplug the TV, especially after school. There’s a correlation between TV watching and low fitness rates, eating more junk food, obesity, and high cholesterol.

Watching TV and playing computer games are passive activities usually involving no movement at all. We’ve all seen young people mesmerized by what is on the screen, often unaware that they are sitting still for so long.
The inactivity may be more dangerous, in the long run, than any potentially objectionable material on the screen that might soon be forgotten.

So make fitness a family affair and it will have benefits that last a lifetime.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Schools of Thought with Bill Cirone

Chris Hanna
Distinguished New Educator
Ellwood School
Goleta Union School District

Innovations in Education - February 2016

February 2016

Talking with Teachers with Bill Cirone

Clanci Chiu
Instruction, Assessment and Professional Learning
Santa Barbara County Education Office

Ingredients for success

Radio Commentary

Four simple ingredients can make any child more successful in school.

First comes support. Young people need to know that someone is in their corner. They can be successful if they feel that someone cares deeply about whether they succeed or fail, and if someone is proud of their successes and their efforts.

Second is having boundaries and expectations.

Children need adults who act like adults.

Parents who are firm and loving have children who do better at school, feel more self-confident, and get into less trouble than children whose parents are either too strict or too lenient.

Third is empowerment. All people need to know they make a difference.

Encourage children to provide service to others. Make sure they take part in school, community, or religious organizations that give them the chance to serve and contribute.

And fourth is constructive use of time. After school, children still need to be involved in constructive activities. Research shows that children who watch more than 10 hours of TV per week are less successful in school than those who watch less.

So be sure young people have challenging and interesting activities to do after they leave the classroom each day.

These four elements — support; boundaries and expectations; empowerment; and constructive use of time — have proven to make a big difference in a child’s success at school and in life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Enjoying reading

Radio Commentary

It is important that children read well, and also that they like reading.

Experts say the best way parents can encourage this is to read to children often and show how much they enjoy reading themselves.

Start reading when children are very young. Take time to find interesting books. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales are good starters.

Some television shows can be helpful by introducing children to letters and words. However, TV programs generally use sentence structures that are not very complex, which isn’t as useful for learning language patterns.

That is why it’s important to read good literature to children. Children whose parents read to them will often try to read a little on their own or sound out words.

Remember:  There is no precise time or age when children should begin to read on their own.

For most children, reading readiness is a gradual process. It starts when they develop an awareness of print — like print on cereal boxes or store signs. Children want to read when it becomes important to them.

Most children will be more eager to read if they see it is something you enjoy. So set aside time for your own reading and become a good role model for your children. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Decrease in biking

Radio Commentary

Just a few generations ago, in the 50s and ’60s, half of all children bicycled or walked to school. Today, only one in 10 does so.

In fact, even among school-age children who live within two miles of school, only about two percent ride bicycles to get there.

These figures have implications for health, fitness, and safety.

The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition cites several major reasons for the decline:

• As we widened roads for cars, we decreased safety for bikers and walkers, leading to a lack of space for children to walk and bike safely.

• Excessive media stories about the dangers of child abductions, gun violence, drugs, and often other real-but-overblown-concerns add to a sense of danger and worry for parents.

The truth is that automobiles are by far a bigger threat to children than all these other potential threats combined.

• With both parents working, for longer hours, many try to compensate through the perceived ‘gift’ of driving children around.
These changes have contributed to increased rates of obesity among young people.

They have also helped foster a loss of independence that comes from bicycling.

As was the case with recycling and smoking, it will take changes of awareness and attitude to change this condition. We should all try to help.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Health and learning

Radio Commentary

Children’s health can have a noticeable impact on their ability to learn.

Vision and hearing problems, in particular, can impair a child’s ability to keep up in school.

That’s because an inability to see the blackboard or hear the teacher can keep a student from understanding what is being taught.

Distractions can also be caused by medical or dental problems, as well as learning disabilities.

In Santa Barbara County, children are screened for hearing, vision, and dental problems in kindergarten or first grade, and again in second, fifth, eighth, and tenth grade.

In order to identify potential health problems — including possible lead poisoning, the state requires preventative physicals for all first-graders.

If a teacher or school nurse notices a child is having a problem, a referral is made to the home.

In addition, tips from teachers can help school psychologists identify behavioral or learning problems, such as attention deficit disorder.

Nutrition and rest can also have a positive impact on children’s learning.

Research has shown that children who eat breakfast do better in school than those who do not.

Monitoring a child’s health, and paying attention to nutrition and rest, are important ways for parents to help children succeed in school. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Middle schoolers

Radio Commentary

Middle school students need to know their parents are interested in their academic success, even if the students act as though they don’t care.

They might not tell you — but they do want their parents to offer support and protection, especially when problems arise.

Try these time-tested techniques:
  • Talk with your child every day about what happened at school. Find ways to get even a short conversation going about classroom experiences.
  • Spend time together. Relax and share a meal or snack. Tell your children often what their strengths are. Most teens need this reinforcement.
  • Listen to your child’s worries. Try to point out and emphasize the positive. Support what you think is good about school. If there are concerns, offer to talk with school officials about practices you don’t think are good for your child.
  • Don’t scold and argue when your child brings home bad news. Instead, listen to your child’s reasoning and help brainstorm ways to improve the situation.

Always let your children know you believe they can be successful. Such confidence can be contagious.
  • Show that you value education by encouraging homework, and reading, above everything else.
Help your children pick a good time and place to study. Make sure they have everything they need — materials and your unconditional support.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Test de-stress

Radio Commentary

Does your child get stressed about tests?

Follow these steps to help your child cope with test anxiety:

• Get the facts: Find out the exact dates your child will be tested and which tests he will take.

• Talk to your child: Find out whether your child is feeling nervous and if so, why.

Often children feel better when they voice their fears instead of shutting them up inside. If your child is afraid of doing poorly, your reassurances will help him feel less frightened.

Help your child practice: If your child is familiar with the format of the test, he’ll feel more prepared.

Ask his teacher for some sample questions or materials that can help him get acquainted with how the test works.

Take care of the basics: See that your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before the test and eats breakfast that morning.

It’s a well-worn but still accurate notion that the brain can’t work if the stomach is empty.

Keep your cool: While tests have increasing importance, they are just one measure of student learning, so try to keep the process in perspective.

If you can find a way not to take things too seriously, your child will probably feel calmer too. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Prediction skills

Radio Commentary

Reading skills are often enhanced through the use of prediction skills.

Good readers use prediction throughout their reading. They constantly anticipate what will happen next.

When reading with your child, find time to have the child write down what he or she thinks is going to take place.

Do this at the end of a chapter or in between the illustrations of a picture book.

Beginning readers need stories that are highly predictable. This predictability may take the form of rhyme, repetition, or patterned language.

Help children write down their prediction of the next word in a sequence.

They can then compare their choice with the one in the book.
One good exercise is to make up short stories and have children write several endings.

You can then talk about which ending is “most predictable” or “most unbelievable” or “most inventive.”

Experts agree: When helping your child become a strong reader, writing down predictions can be a valuable tool for improved reading skills. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

46th Annual Author-Go-Round slated Jan. 25 through Jan. 29

News release

For the 46th year, upper elementary and junior high school students from schools throughout Santa Barbara County will have the chance to meet and talk with authors and illustrators of books for young people.

The occasion is the annual Author-Go-Round sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Santa Barbara County students will attend the event Jan. 25 through Jan. 29 at the County Education Office Auditorium, 4400 Cathedral Oaks Road, Santa Barbara. The sessions will last from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.

Each day, approximately 130 students will have an opportunity to listen to four presentations and then spend 15 minutes asking questions and interacting with the authors while seated on carpets in small groups. At a music signal, they will rotate on to the next author.

Participating authors and illustrators include James Burks, Sara Louise Kras, Sharon Lovejoy, and Sherri L. Smith.

The day is further highlighted with colorful carousel decorations and activities with prizes. Each day, one student will be chosen as best overall winner in the four activities categories and will receive a custom-made t-shirt commemorating the event and signed by the four authors and illustrators.

Students who participate will meet authors of books written specifically for young people, explore avenues of creative writing and illustrating with successful people in the field of literature, and read and discuss in-depth literary works by well-known authors.

Participating districts include Ballard, Blochman, Buellton, Carpinteria, College, Cuyama, Goleta, Guadalupe, Hope, Lompoc, Los Olivos, Montecito, Orcutt, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria-Bonita, Solvang, and Vista del Mar.

“This annual event pays tribute to the reading and writing of children’s literature,” said County Superintendent of Schools William J. Cirone, whose office coordinates the annual event. “The students come away with a sense that they have been involved with a real ‘literary happening.’ ”

Further information is available from Rose Koller, educational technology services, at 964-4710, ext. 5222.

Esteem and violence

Radio Commentary

There is a link between violence and low self-esteem.

While it is important to teach children that they are responsible for any misdeeds, it is equally important to build their self-confidence by praising them for good behavior and accomplishments.

A child who is loved and treated kindly at home learns to love others and treat them kindly as well.

It is also important to support school policies in this area.

Know the school’s rules about discipline, and reinforce them at home. Take an interest in your child’s homework and school activities.

Be sure to clarify behavior standards. Be very clear about your expectations for behavior at home, at school, and in the community.

Identify the consequences for breaking rules. Explain why you disapprove of behavior such as destroying property, bullying, or harming others.

Put your child on notice that TV shows, movies, music, and magazines with violent or pornographic themes are not permitted in your home.

All these suggestions are intended to reinforce for children the idea that violence is not a solution to problems they may encounter.

These are the first steps to helping create a safe, secure, and nurturing environment for all.

A base for success

By Bill Cirone

Nearly 40 years ago, a report entitled “The Evidence Continues to Grow” from the National Committee for Citizens in Education made a strong case for parental involvement in education.

The report found that effective families have several definable characteristics. These included:

• A feeling of control over their lives — individually, and as a group
• Frequent communication of high expectations to the children
• A family dream of success for the future for all members
• A consistent message that hard work is the key to success

The case for parental involvement and its role in a child’s success is every bit as applicable today as it was four decades ago.

The report pointed to other important characteristics and habits that were hallmarks of successful families, including an active lifestyle involving physical activities, a view of the family as a mutual support system and an effective problem-solving unit, and the articulation of clearly understood household rules that are consistently enforced.

The report maintained that this type of family lifestyle helps lead to a child’s increased self-confidence and self-control.

These positive family habits may seem elementary to some. For others, it may seem difficult to find a place to begin.

For those in the latter category, I would offer four simple ingredients that can make any child more successful in school. The acronym “BASE” can be helpful in remembering these fundamental keys to success.

First is having Boundaries and expectations. Children need adults who act like adults.

Parents who are firm and loving have children who do better at school, feel more self-confident, and get into less trouble than children whose parents are either too strict or too lenient.

Activities. Constructive use of time is essential. After school, children still need to be involved in constructive activities. Research shows that children who watch more than 10 hours of TV per week are less successful in school than those who watch less.

So be sure young people have challenging and interesting activities to do after they leave the classroom each day.

Support. Young people need to know that someone is in their corner. They can be successful if they feel that someone cares deeply about whether they succeed or fail, and if someone is proud of their successes and their efforts.

Empowerment. All people need to know they make a difference.

Encourage children to provide service to others. Make sure they take part in school, community, or religious organizations that give them the chance to serve and contribute.

These four elements — boundaries, activities, support, and empowerment — have proven to make a big difference for children. Parents’ effective employment of these ingredients with their children can be the BASE for success in school and life.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reading for meaning

Radio Commentary

Getting meaning out of what we read is one of the secrets for success at any age, but most particularly for young people in school.

Experts always cite reading as the skill students most need for classroom success.

Studies show that having a lot of reading materials around while children are growing up helps them in more ways than we may ever know.
Being surrounded by words helps make children comfortable with language.
Submerging children in a culture of words helps them learn that words have meaning.
Words are the building blocks for thinking and learning all through a lifetime.
But just learning to read is not enough to ensure school success.
It’s important to be able to sound out different letter combinations, but children must also learn to find the meaning in different combinations of words.
Reading out loud helps focus on pronunciation and word recognition. The next step is understanding what those words signify, and learning how to put them together in combinations to get meaning across.

Only then can students put what they read to its best use. Reading for meaning is always the goal. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

First two Rs for testing

Radio Commentary

High-stakes testing is a fact of life. Students of all ages will take standardized tests throughout their school careers.
While some students are naturals at test-taking, others need help to do their best.

A publication titled “Principal Communicator” outlined four conditions that parents can use to help their children feel confident about tests.

They all start with “R”: Being Receptive, Relaxed, Ready, and Rested.

Being “Receptive” is important. Parents can help young people develop a receptive attitude toward school in general, and testing in particular.

They can do this by making sure students understand that testing is merely a part of the learning process, and that it is a measuring stick for how much they have learned.
The second “R” is for “Relaxed.” Anxiety can block the best-prepared student from doing well on a test.
Two effective ways to overcome anxiety are the third and fourth “R’s” — getting Ready by studying well in advance, and being Rested rather than staying up late to cram the night before the test.

It’s important to help children avoid getting hung up on how hard a test might be, or the consequences of doing poorly. Remind children about the satisfaction that comes from trying their best.

Make sure they know you think they will do well, but that your approval of your child as a person does not depend on a test score. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Preventing power struggles

Radio Commentary

Parents may be relieved to know that there are positive alternatives to struggling with teens. The situation is never hopeless!

First, be sure to use friendly actions whenever possible. Young people are very tuned in to negativity and they react to it very badly. Sarcasm, for example, is never a good idea.

Second, use one-word messages whenever possible. It may be hard to focus your thoughts into a single word but it is well worth the effort to try.

Once you are focused, it is easier to get your child to focus appropriately as well.

Next, set clear limits and stick to them. It’s hard, but effective, to do this.

Teach students that when they say “no” they can do it in a respectful way. Remind them it’s not the “no” that can be a problem, but rather how it is delivered and what it seems to signify. Give them alternatives, and try to negotiate win/win outcomes.

Focus on priorities. Nothing gets communication off track more quickly than bogging down in trivial matters.

Give students appropriate ways to feel powerful. No one likes to feel powerless. It can be frustrating and it can lead to more challenges.

Finally, if a major blowup occurs, a cooling off period can often place many things into perspective for young and old alike. All these actions can help you and your struggling teen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Encourage writing

Radio Commentary

Look for ways to get your child’s creative juices flowing when it comes to writing.

When young children tell stories, write down the words. Your children can add their own illustrations and create a complete “book” to give to a grandparent or good friend for a very special birthday gift.

Children may also find that keeping a journal is a great way to express themselves and sort out their feelings.

Writing is interwoven into every part of a child’s academic career. If your child seems to have a natural affinity for it, you should encourage it in every way.

Teach children to become more observant of people and nature. It opens up whole new worlds of interest and inspiration to them.

Have them notice shapes and colors, and then have them describe what they see. Their senses are an unlimited universe of potential learning and adventure. Be sure to give lots of positive reinforcement.

Whatever the topic your child raises, listen with interest and ask questions. Don’t stifle curiosity. If you start to brush off questions, you may find that your child stops asking.

Above all, make learning as interesting, inviting, and as much fun as possible for your children. Enthusiastic, creative people enjoy learning new things at any age.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Car safety tips

Radio Commentary

More parents are traveling these days with ever-younger children in tow. When it comes to traveling safely, there are two practices that could save a young life.

First, when traveling in a car, always secure an infant in a car seat in the back seat.

The rear of a car is a far safer place in the event of an accident. Above all, never use an infant seat in the front of a car that has a passenger-side air bag.

If the bag deploys, it can seriously injure an infant by striking the back of the safety seat.

In a case where an older car only has lap belts in the rear, or shoulder straps that cross over the neck or face of a toddler, it is still important to use a safety belt.

In fact, any belt is better than no belt. Use a booster seat for a young child who has outgrown an infant seat. This will elevate the child so that the shoulder strap crosses the chest, not the neck.

If the rear seat has no shoulder straps, buy a booster seat with a harness or a shield. These devices have saved young lives.

Second: Remember that preventive and defensive driving is always the best bet — and drivers should take special precautions when traveling with young passengers.

But sometimes unforeseeable circumstances occur, or other drivers are not exercising the same care as you are.

At those times, it is far better to be prepared by making sure your child is adequately protected.

Monday, January 4, 2016

School Board Recognition Month

Radio Commentary

January is California School Board Recognition Month.

The state board of education, in extending its wholehearted appreciation to the dedicated individuals who serve on local school boards, cited several aspects of their service.

It acknowledged that an excellent public education system is vital to the quality of life for all California communities.

It pointed out that school board members are locally elected to provide educational leadership and respond to the needs of their communities based on local conditions.

The board cited the fact that school boards are the voice of their communities, serving the interests of students and preparing them for the future.
It acknowledged that school board members must deal with complex educational and social issues and that they are dedicated to upholding public education policies and principles.
It also proclaimed that school board members deserve recognition and thanks for their countless hours of service to the students of California’s public schools.

The California public school system is the largest and most diverse in the nation, serving more than 6.2 million students.
For this reason, the state board joined the entire educational community in encouraging all Californians to thank school board members for all they do for our children and their education.

I invite our community to do the same.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Parent resolutions

Radio Commentary

A new year is the traditional time for making resolutions.

Family Circle Magazine once printed resolutions for parents, and I’m going to repeat them because they help focus our efforts as the new year begins:

I will always love my children for who they are — not who I want them to be.
I will give my child space to grow, to dream, to succeed, and even to fail. Without that space, no growth can occur.

I will create a loving home environment, regardless of what effort it takes at a given time.

When discipline is necessary, I will let my child know that I disapprove of what he does, not who he is.
I will set limits and help my children find security in the knowledge of what is expected of them. They will not have to guess what is right or wrong.

I will make time for all my children and cherish our moments together. I will not burden my children with emotions and problems they are not equipped to deal with.

I will encourage my children to experience the world and all its possibilities, taking pains to leave them careful but not fearful.

I will try to be the kind of person I want my children to be: loving, fair-minded, giving, and hopeful.

These are good resolutions for all of us, don’t you think?