Words Of Wisdom From The 2016 Blackboard Award Honorees

IMG_9869-350x295The Blackboard Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious celebration of excellence in local education, honoring schools, principals, and teachers from all education sectors (public, private, charter, and parochial) and grade levels. We asked the honorees of the 2016 Blackboard Awards for Teachers about how parents can help their children reach their full potential in school.

Dr. Mark Aschenbrand, Robert F. Wagner Middle School—M.S. 167
“I would advise parents to feel what their child feels as a student. They should try doing their children’s assignments on their own so that they can share in the challenges and successes that come with being a middle school student… Parents should allow their children the time and space to work through their assignments, while letting them know that they are there to support them.”

Lilly Backer, Poppyseed Pre-Nursery
“Playing and spending time together without distractions is the best way to support the development of one’s child… [Additionally] being involved and having a presence at your child’s school can have a positive effect on your child’s learning.”

Kelly Baxter, DREAM Charter School
“Talk as much as you can with your child about what they’re learning. Make sure to share your excitement with them about school. Most of all, make learning at home fun! That could mean snuggling up with a book each night to read or playing games that practice different academic concepts.”

Josh Behar, Booker T. Washington—M.S. 54
“A reflective parent is the most important tool in a child’s life. Any parent that can step back and see how their own issues affect their child, is better able to deal with teachers and the school.”

Noah Gordon, Special Music School at Kaufman Music Center
“We live in a shared world with young people. My advice to parents is to engage your children as intellectuals, as makers, and as contributors with valuable things to say. Read with them. Write with them. Ask them questions. Ask them about their questions. And above all, listen to them.”

Jeanne Graham, Beginnings Nursery School
“I truly believe parents are children’s first teachers… It’s my goal as a teacher to give honor to this critical relationship. I believe parents are partners with their children’s teachers. We must work together to ensure the children are receiving quality educational experiences at home and in the classroom.”

Ann Marie Hourigan, The British International School of New York
“We are educating students for the world of tomorrow, jobs that do not exist yet, books that have not been written yet and inventions that have yet to be discovered. We are all responsible and in this together as adults.”

Thomas Jones, NYC iSchool—H.S. 376
“I would encourage parents to trust their children to make the right decisions for themselves; they’re so much smarter than we sometimes give them credit for… I [also] urge parents to reach out early in the year and establish positive ties with teachers.”

Adam Grant Kelley, Battery Park City School—P.S. 276
“Engage [kids] in critical discussion of the news, exploring different perspectives and taking chances with social issues that may feel uncomfortable. Adults get stuck in discussing sensitive subjects but kids have a novice sense of bravery. It’s important for adults to cultivate and empower that courage because it helps kids to think more deeply, critically, and holistically about learning and, in turn, life.”

Molida Khuon, International School of Brooklyn
“The voices of the parent and teacher are equally important. I know that it can be hard for parents when their children answers “I don’t know/I don’t remember/Nothing” to every question they may ask about their school life. I think it’s important to show to children that school and home are connected and that parents and teachers are working together to support them.”

Diana Lambert, Simon Baruch Middle School—M.S. 104
“The best way for parents to support their children is through listening and wanting to understand what the child is learning. When a parent or family member shows that they truly want to hear about their child’s day, the child tends to feel more comfortable opening up and sharing.”

Caroline Latham, Tanya Lerch, Kieran Peers & Aubree Stephens, Convent of the Sacred Heart
“Our advice for parents is to be encouraging along the way and to allow students to struggle and not rush in to help them. Failure is a learning opportunity… Debunking the idea that failure is always a bad thing actually gives students the tools to try again.”

Kelly Schmidt, St. Stephen of Hungary School
“Parents are their child’s first teacher as well as their biggest advocate. When parents and teachers work together as a unit, it is truly beneficial for everyone. The best advice that I can give is to believe in your child, believe in his/her teacher, and believe in their school.”

Nekia Wise, Beekman Hill International School—P.S. 59
“Know your children’s academic goals. Children are aware of their strengths and areas of improvement and parents should be aware as well… Understanding why your kids do the work they do and how they work to achieve measurable goals will promote a partnership between school and home.”

To learn more about the Blackboard Awards, visit blackboardawards.com!