10 Ways to Prepare for the End of the School Year

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Are you prepared for those last, hectic weeks of school? These 10 tips will help your family through the May and June chaos. Take a deep breath and focus on keeping yourself and your family organized and excited for summer.

Brought to you by the American School Counselor Association

End of School Year, excited kids on last day of school
Manage Spring Fever
As school winds down, end-of-the-year events — from music recitals to sports banquets — clog the calendar. But the academic year isn't over yet! Making sure your kids finish with their best effort — when their efforts are required in so many different areas — can be quite a challenge.

Stick with the routine
Try your best to stick with your child's regular after-school routine. Set homework rules and check to make sure she's still meeting deadlines. If a progress report says your child's work isn't getting done, make a plan with her to ensure a strong finish.

Address stress
If your child is showing symptoms of end-of-year stress — not eating or sleeping well or being irritable — you may want to talk to him about ways to handle the pressure of juggling too many balls.

End of School Year, boy with summer babysitter
Plan Your Child Care
Need a babysitter for every day or just occasionally this summer? These guidelines will help you find the right babysitter.
End of School Year, boys and girls at summer camp
Find a Summer Camp
Summer camp is a great way for children to spend their school vacation.
End of School Year, teenager working a summer job
Research Summer Jobs for Teens
Summer jobs can prevent boredom and help teens make their own money.
End of School Year, report card
Review Final Report Cards
Your child will soon be bringing home his final report card. Take the time to look closely at each grade and compare his marks to those earned previously. Don't forget to read the teacher's comments for additional clues about your child's progress. If you're having trouble understanding any of the information, contact the school immediately. Remember that teachers only remain in the school building for a few days after school ends.

Ways to respond
When a child brings home a great report card, she deserves to be praised. If your child brings home a less-than-perfect report, it won't help to get visibly upset. Instead, talk to your child about the progress she's made this year. Whether it's As, Ds, or grades in between — find the best way to react to your child's individual situation.

Make time over the summer for learning
There are several ways kids can improve their skills during the summer so they can return to school with added confidence. You may still be able to enroll your child in a summer-school program. Investigate any remedial programs that exist at local colleges. Tutors are another option — you can obtain names of tutors from your school or classroom teachers. You can also call high schools and inquire about volunteer tutor programs. Two other options are to tutor your child yourself or enroll him in a learning center.

End of School Year, graded scantron exam or standardized test
Analyze Test Scores
Schools use spring standardized test scores as one of the criteria for class placement, inclusion in gifted programs, and placement in mandatory basic-skills programs. So it's important that you understand the percentiles, local and national "stanines," and composite scores that you'll find on that sheet of paper. If you're confused, you're not alone! Just place a call to the counselor, teacher, or an administrator in your school and ask for help interpreting the scores.

Check out our parent resources on testing and standardized tests.

End of School Year, elementary students with teacher
Plan Ahead for Next Year's Classes
It's smart to start thinking about the next school year during the spring. Consider how your child has performed this school year and what might help him do even better next year.

Gifted programs
Do you think your child has special talents? Don't miss out! Now's the time to submit parent and teacher referrals for gifted-and-talented programs. An evaluation period may be underway in your school to determine eligibility for programs in the fall.

Requesting a teacher
Right now, schools are deciding where to place teachers. If you want to request a certain teacher next year, speak with your child's current classroom teacher as soon as possible.

Most teachers will ask that you put your preferences in writing and submit them to the principal. Depending on the school, these requests may be honored if at all possible. The name of next year's teacher will typically appear on your child's final report card.

Separating kids
This is also the time to share with your child's current teacher any concerns you may have about separating your child from another student. For example, you might request to have your child placed in a different class from a friend she's too dependent on. Don't hesitate to convey any concerns that you think will contribute to your child's success.

End of School Year, failing student stressed about studying
Consider Retention vs. Advancement
You should know by now if your child's teachers are considering retention. Retention planning usually requires teachers to submit requests earlier in the year. Parents should be informed along each step in this process.

To stay or not to stay?
There's great controversy in the education and mental-health communities over retention, and research doesn't tend to support the practice. If your child is experiencing great academic difficulty, it may be due to an undiagnosed learning disability. Before deciding whether or not to retain your child, request a professional evaluation to rule out a learning disability.

Looking for more information? Learn more about retention vs. advancement and get advice from education experts.

End of School Year, school building with sign
Manage Expectations and Changes
Your child may be facing big changes next school year and could already be feeling some anxiety about school transition, so stay tuned-in this spring and summer.

Moving to a new building
Well-designed school orientation programs begin early in the spring or even during the winter. They usually consist of a campus tour and a visit with current students.

If you're concerned about the move, attend the parent-orientation programs to learn about curriculum, school rules, schedules, homework policies, and developmental changes. If "information overload" sets in, call your school counselor or one of the teachers for a one-on-one session.

Also, there will probably be a "Back-to-School Night" early in the fall that repeats this information when your child is actually experiencing the change. By then, the details will seem more relevant.

Same building, different grade
Many schools don't plan orientation programs for kids staying in the same building. If you think your child needs a little help with the transition, make sure to schedule time in late summer — before classes start — to visit the school and meet the new teacher.

New town, new building
To help ease your child into a new school situation, it's wise to call ahead in the spring and find out what orientation programs exist. A school or peer counselor will probably be available in the fall to conduct tours. The school secretary has information about procedures for lunch, dismissal, and absences. If you're living in close proximity to the new school, you can arrange a time this spring for your child to sit in on a few classes and get familiar with the surroundings.

End of School Year, boys and girls on school bus
Say Goodbye
The end of the school year can be bittersweet, even for kids who are psyched about summer vacation.

Gifts for Teachers
Was this year's teacher extra-special? Check out great gift ideas for teachers.

Stay in Touch
Help your kids stay in contact with their friends over the summer with this printable address form.