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INGALL: Back to school is the best time of the year

• Aug 10, 2018 at 3:00 PM

I love the freedom and flexibility of summer — especially one spent enjoying our beautiful lakeshore and awesome Coast Guard Festival. But there’s also a familiar welcome in the “normal” structure and routine back-to-school season brings.

As an educator, the new school year is like Christmas morning, New Year’s Day and Opening Day of baseball season all wrapped into one. The excitement of new beginnings, backpacks full of school supplies and the perfect first-day outfit are ready-made lifetime memories for our children. I’m grateful to experience this change of season well past my own school-age years.

The coming weeks are a great opportunity to not only think about schedules, but to actually start preparing. The weeks preceding the actual first day of school set the stage for success throughout the school year.

Like any musician, athlete or artist who takes some time away, coming back to school can require some training. This opportunity to discuss and plan for the year ahead can look practical, like resetting expected routines to create space for school work and activities.

More importantly, though, is taking the time to talk with your children about the expectations, hopes and fears for the year ahead, allowing them to establish the idea of a “growth mindset.” There will be great successes (on which future success can be built), but also natural bumps in the road that cause frustration, sadness or failure.

Planning on how to work through each moment at school is a metaphor for moving successfully through life. It’s one of my favorite activities to do with my own children. And while it’s critically vital and important for the success of our children, it’s even more important for their success as an adult.

As the school year continues, these conversations can establish the framework for important daily conversations. Parents are vibrant and vital partners in education, and the daily conversations that support and affirm children for their hard work and perseverance are absolutely necessary for success.

Here at Grand Haven Area Public Schools, our teachers and staff are ready! We cannot wait to see students on our buses, in our halls, classrooms, performing arts centers, athletic fields and more.

So here’s to a wonderful 2018-19 school year — Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and play ball!

— By Andy Ingall, superintendent of Grand Haven Area Public Schools

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