Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hi Tech Back To School Tips

Hi Tech Back-to-school tips

Whether your child is entering kindergarten this fall or nearing graduation, here's a rundown of tips and Web sites to help you get the school year off to a good start.

· Create a family code of conduct for home computer use. Include important safety tips. Microsoft has a template at
· Watch out for cyberbullies -- kids using text messages, e-mails or Web sites such as or to harass other students (and sometimes teachers). If your child is harassed online, save all communications and report the problem to local police, your Internet service provider or the Web site moderator (look for an e-mail address at the bottom of the Web page).
· Also, is your child a cyberbully? Have him take the quiz at
SOURCE: National Crime Prevention Council;
· Expect about 10 minutes of homework per grade -- about half an hour for a third grader, for example.
· It's fine to look over your children's homework to answer questions. But don't correct their work or do work for them. Whatever the child's age, if he or she isn't getting assignments done satisfactorily, he or she needs more supervision. More tips on this:
· Most area libraries offer free homework help and tutoring to students with a library card. Visit Seattle Public Library's page at and King County Library System's page at
· Apprehensive about the high school WASL? Find practice tests and a scoring guide at
SOURCE: National Education Association, U.S. Department of Education, Seattle Public Library, King County Library System, OSPI
· It's best to leave the iPods, cell phones and other electronic toys at home. Most schools ban them during school hours anyway -- and students have been robbed of their electronic items going to or from school.
· Other items to leave at home: over-the-counter medicines; toy weapons or small Swiss Army knives; lighters, matches or firecrackers; Heelys (skate shoes); dice and cards.
· A reminder (especially for teen drivers): In Seattle, a speed van will monitor drivers at some schools. Drivers failing to obey the speed limit, usually 20 mph, can get a $189 ticket.
· If the school bus doesn't arrive within 20 minutes of the scheduled time, call your district's main office or its transportation department. For Seattle Public Schools, call the transportation department at 206-252-0900.
SOURCE: Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Police Department
Stay connected
· Seattle Public Schools parents can sign up for The Source, an online portal where they can view their child's schedule, attendance, test scores and grades.
· Sign up for your school's or PTA's e-mail newsletter. Find links to regional school districts' Web sites at our School Zone blog, The district Web site usually includes links to its schools' Web pages.
· Establish a relationship with your child's teacher(s) early in the year, and check in regularly. Ask if they prefer phone calls or e-mails.
· Check out your school's report card at Here you can find and compare information on Washington public schools' WASL scores, enrollment, finances and teacher qualifications.
· School delays or closures are posted at; parents can sign up for e-mail alerts for a particular school.