Monday, March 2, 2015

After School Parent Engagement: A National Need

I’ve enjoyed working with parents all over the country. What I have uncovered is a need for a national education agenda to help parents. Too many K12 schools assume that parents know what they need to do to get their children ready to learn. We need to engage parents where they work and socialize every day. Parent engagement will help students get more out of school. Successful schools after school  programs make parent engagement a priority.  Here are some tips for parent engagement:

1. Use a location in the local community for a parents meeting

2. Have a job fair for parents at the school but offer a parent resource table too 

3. Get parents to serve as chaperone a specific after school event

4. Provide tutoring resources for parents to help parents with home work 

5. Get parents involved in after school robotics competitions

6. Identify a parent who will contact help to get supplies

7.  Involve the parents in a trip to historical sites

8.  Encourage parents to read with their child when they are at home.

The after school programs a perfect place to encourage parents to become more involve in their school. Too many schools have no parent involvement at all. Many of the after school programs help student to raise their enthusiasm for learning. Parents could have a meeting at the same time that their school District principals. We need more students who are enthusiastic about going to school. When parent’s are enthusiastic it gets your child excited about learning. Dr Stephen Jones is the author of the Parents Ultimate Education Guide at

15 Ways to Become a Successful Student

The key to becoming a great student is developing good learning habits that you practice every week. You must be determined to remove all distractions and focus on your goals. Determine what grade you want to earn in each class and go for it. You must be willing to stand out in the classroom because you are an active participant. A successful student gets ready for every presentation by regularly practicing how they will present it.  You must commit more time to studying. Here are other things that you should do.

1.       Prepare for all tests assignments on a schedule
2.       Start a study group
3.       Don’t procrastinate on projects
4.       Get the energy you need  by eating right
5.       Get organized.  
6.       Talk to your teacher
7.       Read your textbook
8.       Read before every class
9.       Review your notes and get clarity
10.   Have a time management schedule
11.   Get to know the smartest person in the class
12.   Say no to people who are your biggest distraction
13.   Review videos on your topics
14.   Listen to the news for current events
15.   Search Goggle for information

Don’t let other people tell you what is important. You are in charge of your future. You want to be the student who is creative and innovative in the way that you think. Ask your teacher or professor for other books that you can read. Stay after class and talk with other professors and students. If you do all of these things you will be on your way to earning the top grade in your class.

Dr Stephen Jones is an education expert. Get his book Seven Secrets of How to Study at or email your questions to

Radical Ways to Spark K12 Student's College Interest

The best way to prepare a student for college is starting at the beginning of their education.  Too many school systems wait until high school to start a college conversation. During the early years students are like sponges that are waiting to absorb knowledge.  The discussions about college must start early.  That is why I decided to create the Ultimate College Preparation Kit at .  Students who inspired to read and compute math in a fun way while they are in elementary school thrive as they move from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school.  Parents should be included in the college conversation.  Schools can help parents to understand what they can be doing in their homes for example no television in the students room.  The parent can set a limited television viewing time during the week.  Instead parents should encourage their child to read and read with them.  The school that is preparing students for college must have a parent partnership.
Students not only need to memorize words at their K12 schools they need to have conversations where words are used at a higher volume. This is beneficial especially during the early years when students are learning math and science terms and words.  Teachers and parents should talk about college regularly to raise the student’s expectation that they can attend college. A teacher spends the majority of time with the students during the day.  Every teacher who is teaching at an elementary school, middle school and high school should have the banner of the college they attended outside of their room.  You will be amazed how many student conversations can result from having a banner outside of your door.  The students may not even be in the teacher’s class the banner is creating a college going culture.  The catalyst for a student to attend college is the teacher’s inspiration. It is the fact that everyone that comes in contact with them talks about college.  Tell your students that they are special and that you are expecting great things from them.  Here are a few tips:

1.  Measure and calculate everything so that your student develops good math skills
2. Read for an hour and a half every day
3.  Respond to questions that your students ask to help them to develop a vocabulary
4.  Take your student on cultural trips on the weekend
5.  Find reasons to be on a college campus for a play, sporting event or presentation
6. Plan a college visit every K12 year
7.  Get a college mentor for your student’s class
8.  Use the common application to apply to college
9. Teach you students to manage their time early. It has great benefits
10.  There are over 6000 colleges there is one for your student

Helping children to believe in themselves is half of the battle in terms of encouraging them to attend college.  They may be the first person I their family to attend college and they feel overwhelmed.  You should reassure them of what they can accomplish.  Teachers can talk about people who are living today who have graduated from college too.  A lot of students need to see living examples of college graduates.  You can invite them to your classroom to talk about their career experiences.  You can work with your students to create questions that they can ask to your speaker.  Sometimes that quite student who never makes a noise will have a question.  You never know the profession that I child will pursue.  The television and other media should not be the only way that students are able to identify a career. Every student has great potential.  Find creative ways to involve them in the learning process and they will have a thirst for knowledge and college. Dr Stephen Jones is a college preparation expert, author, consultant and educator.  He recently released the Ultimate College Preparation Kit at . You can reach him at or 610-842-3843.

10 Ways to Improve Reading Scores

Has the growth and technology decreased reading scores? Are students reading less?  This is a big topic of discussion in many education circles.  Everyday students are on computers, Ipads, Kindles and other devices.  Students are getting information much faster and they are very enticed by three dimensional images.  In spite of all of this technology it is still important to read.  Learning to read feeds students brains and it challenges them to grow intellectually and emotionally.  Students can benefit from reading at home and while in school.  Some of the best conversations can occur between a parent and student when they have read a book that they find interesting.
It is never too late to get your entire school to get focused on increasing reading scores.  Have meetings to enable of the schools teachers listen to the creative reading activities that teachers are using in different classrooms.  A significant improvement in reading can spill over into math and science classes too.  Here are 10 tips to improve your students reading scores.
1.  Read a book and then go to see the play or get the video to review.
2.  Each child should read 30 to 40 minutes each day. Set a daily reading goal.
3.  Encourage your students to write poetry, poems and short stories.
4.  Feature the students poetry, poems and short stories in an open display each week.
5. Purchase books on tape and let the students read along.
6.  Get teenagers to come in and read books with your students.
7.  Let the students identify some of the books that they would like to read.
8.  Get permission to create videos of students reading their favorite book and telling why they like it.
9.  Visit a library where they are having a book reading.
10.  Organize a reading club

Don’t give up on your students and you will be rewarded. Some students are not reading at their grade level and they will need time to catch up.  Just by changing the reading ability of one student you can change the atmosphere in an entire room.  Students can truly tell when you are invested in their success. Dr. Stephen Jones is author of “Seven Secrets of How to Study” a study skills book for students of all ages. You can reach him at 610-842-3843 or

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Keep Your After-School Program Fresh

 This is a great time to think about fresh activity ides for the thousands of after school programs all across the country that serve K12 students.  The goal of many after-school programs is to improve the student’s enthusiasm for learning.  There are 21st Century grant programs, GEAR Up, Upward Bound, Talent Search, Boys and Girls Clubs , YMCA and the YWCA to name a few. All of these programs make a significant contribution to the growth and development of young people.  Many older students get involved in taking on leadership responsibilities within their respective organization. Successful after-school programs always have fresh ideas that come from staff and students.

One of the goals of every program should be innovation.  There must be creative ways that students are doing programming that ties into the learning that occurs at school. These are some of the best programs. For example participating in a robotics competition can help students with math, physics and computer programming.  Some students participate in science bowls that occur all around the country or speaking competitions with Toastmasters.  There is a world full of great opportunities for the after school student.  It is important to get the students involved in the activity decision making. They can often come up with unique activities.
Get all of your after school participants involved in brainstorming sessions.  A great brainstorming session can help your programs to better meet the needs of the participants.  Give each of the small groups a sheet of note paper and a marker and give them an opportunity to make a list of activities.  Put each list on a wall and give everyone stickers that they can put beside ideas that they favor.  The brainstorming session will become an exciting opportunity to change the direction of some of your activities. Here are ten things that you can do :
1.      Visit other after school programs to see what they are doing
2.      Get support from companies in your area that have games and resources
3.      Join social networks like Pinterest and pursue after school pins
4.      Involve your students in learning unique sports (golf, tennis, lacrosse)
5.      View Youtube videos for unique activities
6.      Invite in experts to show your students how to do something (i.e. chef, crafts etc.)
7.      Organize your own best student grade competition
8.      Visit a historical site in your city that your participants rarely visit
9.      Attend a national conference
1.  Form and advisory board

Always look for fresh ideas. They can be found on the internet in magazines and newspapers. Most publications have a list of weekend activities. Sometimes it is good to give your students different experiences that are away from your program's location.  It is a great way to explore your own city. You will be amazed to find out how many students have never visited your local historical sites.  
The growth of a successful after school program depends on the creativity of the staff and students. You can give out an easy survey to get feedback about your services and activities. If possible consider creating a volunteer position for a graduate student from a local college.  Students need to know that their after school program is more than something to pass the time while they wait for a parent to get home. It is an opportunity to excel and prepare for a successful future. Dr Stephen Jones is an educator and author of the seven Secrets of How to Study at