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Everything about SchoolEdge Mobile and ParentEdge.

Ramsey Junior High School begins using ParentEdge!

Dearborn, MI - January 22, 2014 - We are proud to announce that ParentEdge homework texting and email messaging has begun at Ramsey Junior High School which is located in Fort Smith, AR.  Ramsey Junior High is a great school and we are proud to be working with them.  The setup and communication has been outstanding between all parties involved and we are thrilled that the Ramsey Junior High community has bought into ParentEdge.  

A few comments in case there are any questions from stakeholders:

Teachers:

If you have any questions regarding how ParentEdge works, how your classes are setup, how to enter data, or anything else please get in contact with us directly.  We are happy to provide detailed support for any issues or questions you might encounter so please don’t hesitate to email us at support@schooledgemobile.com.  In addition, here are some links to our support sections that might help answer your questions:

Secondary Teacher Support

ParentEdge Teacher Features

Parents:

Thank you for receiving the homework texts that ParentEdge sends out and thank you for being involved in your child’s education.  We hope that you find ParentEdge to be a valuable and worthwhile tool to better help your child succeed academically.  If you have any questions please email us at support@schooledgemobile.com and we will address them immediately.  In addition, here are a couple of helpful links that might provide you with more information on ParentEdge.  If you wish to opt out of receiving messages, please click here:

ParentEdge Parent Support

ParentEdge Parent Features

Finally: Parents, we would love to hear from you regarding your thoughts on ParentEdge. Please take the ParentEdge survey linked here and let us know what you think!

Sincerely,

The ParentEdge Team!

Our Parent Survey is now open!

In the next few weeks we will begin reaching out to parents, teachers, and administrators for feedback on ParentEdge and what they think of the service.  It is our hope that by gathering this feedback we can improve ParentEdge to best serve the needs of our schools.  We want to hear what you think so we can do better.  

With that in mind we have created a new parent survey page where we hope to hear from you. You can get access to it here.  

In the next few weeks we will be adding a teacher survey and an administrator survey as well.  

Quick Tips: Getting Ready to Take a Test (the non studying part)

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Sometimes all kids think about before they take a test is how they need to study.  There is no thought about how to physically and mentally prepare for a big test they are taking.  That needs to change.  Here are a few tips to help out.  Most will be obvious but it seems that everyone overlooks them anyway:

  • Get some sleep the night before the test.  Studying until the bell rings the next day for first hour doesn't really help a student prepare for a test.  They need to get some rest.  You can only cram so much into one night of studying.  Get some sleep. Staying up a bit to study is fine but try to get to bed by midnight.
  • Eat breakfast before school. I know this is sound advice for every school day but it is rarely followed by some students.  However, it is absolutely key on test days.  If your test is in the morning hours you must eat something before you come to school.  Preferably that food should have a good mix of protein and carbs to keep you energized and ready throughout the morning.  A bunch of sugar from a red-bull or 5-hour energy doesn't cut it at all.
  • Relax, it isn't the end of the world. Lots of kids build up certain tests to be the end all be all of their entire academic life.  "If I fail this test, my future is ruined" etc...  That is no way to go into a test and it is no way to think in general.  No test in high school, no matter how big it seems, holds that much sway over your future.  If you do poorly on one test it will not ruin your life.  Obviously you want to do well but if for some reason you don't there is always tomorrow.  Remember that.

Can increased parent involvement lead to better student behavior?

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Lets assume a school begins using ParentEdge because they want to see their students succeed academically.  They want their parents to get involved everyday with their children's academic life.  They want that informed, meaningful conversation about school to take place everyday.  The academic benefits from signing up for ParentEdge are seemingly obvious. However, what about behavior?  We believe that a subtle shift in the academic climate of the school by using ParentEdge could lead to significant benefits on other fronts.  One of those is behavior.

When parents get more involved students will get more focused and take class seriously on regular basis. This increased focus and desire to do well could lead to a significant improvement in student behavior as well.  In most schools the students who are focused and ready to succeed are rarely behavior problems.  In most cases it is the students who are disinterested in class or the students who don't see any value in their education.  By altering that equation and getting more students to see the value in education through their parents, behavior may improve considerably.

Let us know your thoughts.  I'm very interested to hear if other educators agree or disagree with this idea.

10 Emergency Test Cramming Tips

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Nobody likes to do it but sometimes cramming for a test is simply unavoidable.  You put off studying, didn’t look at the review guide, and waited until the night before the test to even think about preparing.  Though I obviously would suggest that you not make this your normal strategy for test studying, if you do find yourself in this precarious position there are a few things you can do to help yourself out:1. Figure out what to study – When studying on a limited time budget you need to make sure you aren’t wasting time.  Your first priority should be to figure out what exactly will be on the test and stick to only studying that information.  Look at the review guide, look at your notes, and think about what has been talked about in class.  Pick out the most important concepts from there, perhaps the ones that are mentioned the most, and focus your studying on those. Don’t waste time on something if you think it won’t be on there or if it will only be in one question.

2. Don’t get overwhelmed – This is huge.  Do not let yourself get overwhelmed by anxiety and nervousness when thinking about everything you are going to have to study in a short amount of time.  Simply take it one minute at a time, focus on the problem or concept you are studying only and then move on.  Stay positive and focused.

3. Don’t burn yourself out – There will come a point at some during the night where you simply need to be done studying.  No amount of energy drinks is going to make that extra hour of time you want to put in at 4:30 a.m worth it.  Get some sleep!  Even if it is only a few hours, it might make the difference for you on the test.  Even if you cram everything into your brain the night before by staying up the whole night, it won’t do you any good if you are too incoherent to even write your name on the test.

4. Focus on the study guide – This goes along with #1 but it needs to be said again.  The study guide given to you by your teacher is the best place to focus when studying.  It was obviously designed to make you aware of the problems and concepts that will be on your test.  Use it!

5. Don’t bother asking teacher for help ­ - Just to save you some time, don’t bother emailing your teacher or professor at 11:30 p.m, or even 7 p.m, the night before a test.  As a teacher I can tell you that more than likely they aren’t going to respond to you.  Why? They probably aren’t too concerned with the fact that you waited until the very last minute to start studying for a test.  Don’t waste your time waiting for a reply.

6. Do ask your friends for help – Generally you know a few people in the class and they might be studying at the same time you are.  Perhaps they are even trying to cram everything in just like you waited to do.  If so, give them a call, text them, get in contact with them somehow.  They are going to be far more willing to help you.  My only suggestion though, don’t rely on them solely for help.  You have to figure it out yourself.

7. Don’t just look at solved problems, do them yourself – Don’t solely rely on looking at problems that are worked out for you, especially in math and science.  Trust me, you need to practice doing them yourself.  Simply looking at the solution isn’t going to cut it when it comes to you working something out on a test.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had students say they looked at the solutions over and over again without trying it themselves.  They then are shocked that they didn’t get that question right.  Try it yourself!

8. Use the Internet – If your friends have abandoned you for sleep and you are just stuck on something turn to the Internet for help.  Obviously, you have some hook up to it if you are reading this.  Use it.  There are an incredible number of resources out there that can help you out.  YouTube is a great place to look for educational videos that explain every concept under the sun.  If you are confused and need help, just search for it on the net.  Trust me.  The answer to your question is out there, you just have to find it.

9. Move around, don’t just sit there – There is nothing worse for learning than sitting still at a desk for 6 straight hours.  If you want to make your time spent studying more valuable, move around a bit.  Every hour take a 5 minute break to walk around, get a drink, do a few jumping jacks, or basically anything that gets you out of your chair and moving around.

10.  Eat breakfast in the morning – I know this is obvious or at least sounds obvious but do it anyway!  Eat before you leave for school or go to class.  It will make a difference.  If you just spent your entire night studying, you need to eat.  Your brain and test score will appreciate it!

I hope these tips help in your cramming session. Next time, print a little note out reminding yourself to study before the night before!

3 questions all parents should be able to answer

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It's hard to talk with your kids about anything once they get to be a certain age it seems.  It can be especially hard to talk with them about school if they are struggling.  Even if you find the right time when they happen to be in an agreeable mood you still need to ask your kids the right questions to make any conversation about school meaningful.  I can't tell you how many times I've asked parents about their child's study habits, where they do their homework, what time they do their homework, do they worry about tests, etc...  I rarely get an informed answer back.  Now in my opinion that's not the fault of the parents.  Its more just the reality of teenage life today for kids, they like to keep things private from their parents.  What I've done here is compile a list of questions that parents should be able to answer about their kids educational life.  If there are some I missed please let me know.  I will be updating this list regularly:

1. When your kid studies for a test, how do they actually do it?

Being able to answer this questions is very important.  Most parents just think, my kid studies and that's enough.  However, in many cases that studying is perhaps barely taking place or in reality isn't at all.  Does your kid listen to music while they study? Do they text with friends? (Not always a bad thing depending on the kid. This can lead to some serious help for hard classes.) Do they use their computer while studying? Is the TV on?  Where do they study? Do they use notes? Do they use online tutorials? Are they actually doing the practice problems themselves?  As you can see, there is a lot more to studying than most parents realize.

2. When and where does your child do homework?

A lot of this overlaps with the previous question but it is just as important.  Getting into a positive and regular routine in for doing homework is essential to academic success.  The reality of class today (irregardless of whether you agree with it or not sadly) is that most required classes in school can be passed as long as all the work is completed.  In discussions with many teachers the majority agree that almost all the failures they have are a result of students not completing work instead of doing poorly on assessments.   If you are concerned with your student succeeding in class, ensuring they do their work is very important.

3. What are your child's personal expectations and what are your expectations for them?

It is very important that these two questions have the same answer.  In reality it is an entirely different blog post which I will cover soon.  I can say though that I've witnessed kids who have one view of themselves and their parents who have an entirely different view of their child in school.  This is a very important thing to get on the same page about.  Having expectations differ between parent and child can lead to significant stress and struggle for kids in class.  Whether expectations are high or low they need to be in sync and they need to be realistic.  More to follow on this tomorrow.

This really is just the beginning but these are 3 very important questions you should be able to answer about your child.  Please feel free to share this with others who may benefit from it as well!