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Finishing the Academic Year Strong

Finishing the Academic Year Strong

Supporting Document: Ultimate Success

As the school year comes to an end, a year like no other, how do we help our children finish the academic year strong? We will examine ways to support the transition to summer, strategies to help maintain energy to complete the school year and look for opportunities to learn from this extraordinary year while thinking towards next year.


welcome welcome we’re just giving folks

a chance to enter the room and then

we’ll get started here in just a moment

if you are if you’d like to you’re more

than welcome to

turn on your  turn off your mute and

turn on your camera

and we can just talk to each other

interact for a few minutes

 that would be fine 

and  would love to know how folks are


how is your your school year ending for

your kids

all right don’t make me call on people



judith hey this is cheryl hey cheryl how

are you

good  we’re challenged

just trying to make it through have a

ninth grader

 who is just done with school

and we’ve been dealing with some school

avoidance as well

that we’re trying to work through but

you know i think we’ll get there

we have a plan in place it’s just

getting him to cooperate which is

and be motivated which is hard it is it

is hard

cheryl i’m dealing with a senior who’s

who’s struggling in the exact same way

he’s been accepted at college

he is just shut down

he doesn’t want to do anything

it’s just been  that’s been pulling

teeth now again we also have a plan

and  and so you know this this this

video or this webinar today will will

have a couple

things that you know may may help you 

we’ll see

 but  but again as as after i get

started here in just a moment anybody

who wants to share

is  is more than welcome to do that 


so  all right

olga welcome how are you

 judith kelly or or gretchen do any of

you want to

say hello hello it’s gretchen

hi gretchen how are you good what

how’s your how’s your situation going

here at the end of the year

 it’s going the same as it did the

whole entire school year which is

not good so

 we’re looking forward to school being


and the public school here has been

trying as hard as they can with my 14

year old

 but it’s just really difficult for

him so it it has been so hard

it just it it’s you’re absolutely right

okay well i’m i’m gonna get started here

in just a moment 

and folks can  can come in as 

as they are available 

all right so yeah now you if you want to

you can please turn off your mics

and i will get going i played with a new


 for this webinar so let me just

introduce myself

hello folks i’m john wilson i’m soares

executive director

and i am delighted to have a chance to

spend a little bit of time with you


today we’re talking about finishing the

academic year strong

and this is both a  how to deal with

the now

how to  how to look back and then also

how to look forward

 and so let’s get started  what’s

interesting about

this workshop is that i’ve broken it

down into four sections

and the first is going to surprise you

the first section we’re going to talk

about is how are you going to take care

of you

now the second is we’ll talk about

support for them

the third is we’ll talk about ways to

celebrate this this

year unlike any other year we’ve ever

encountered and then

we’ll wrap up the webinar with the ways

that we can look forward

as it happened i just finished a

wilderness first responder course and

the first thing that we talk about is

seeing safety or making sure that

nothing bad is going to happen to us or


we’ve done the things that we need to do

to meet our needs

because if if i can’t be the best

version of me right

i don’t have the right tools or the

right supplies or the right mindset

then i can’t be in any kind of capacity

where i’m going to be a particularly

quality or solid advocate supporter

or even  mentor to anybody and so

 so let’s talk about some ways that as

somebody who is watching this video you

can take care of you

all right  the first one is

make time for family and individual

self-care all right

so  you know ma and moms are


it’s a particularly difficult issue

at least to many of the moms that i know

and certainly

 my wife falls into this category and

that is that they’re they’re

they’re making sure that everybody’s

needs are met and

you know  and and they just forget to

make sure

to take a little bit of time and and

meet their own needs

and so you know at some point today

after you’re listening to this webinar i

jot down a few of your needs that are

not being met are they

are they exercise are they nutrition are

they relaxation

are they you know time with friends 

what needs do you have

that make you the best version of you

that aren’t being met

another one to think about is you know

during the day

just occasionally take five or ten

minutes wherever you can just to do

something that is for you

it’s not for yourself or your daughter

or your your partner it’s for you

 and and and make that a priority

 cubby talks about sharpening the saw

you know there’s the there’s the

woodsman in the woods 

you know trying to chop down a tree with

an axe and and the 

and the the guy says well god that

really seems hard that seems to be

taking a while

and the woodsman says it is the the shaw

is the the saw is dull

 the axe is dull and he says well why

don’t you sharpen the saw

and the the woodsman replied i don’t

have time.

and so when your shot when your saw is

sharpened or when you

are  at your optimal level you can do

more for others and you can

get through things easier and faster

when you’re tired and exhausted

and you’ve forgotten about you then it

really is much harder to do anything for

anybody else

now inversely i would also say that it’s

just as important to spend five or ten

minutes with your child

in quality time that has nothing to do

with school 

school related and to take those breaks

throughout throughout the time that

you’re trying to help them transition

through this really difficult time

the the reason for that is that when

when you know the whole school thing can


become so encompassing of our

relationship with our kids

that it becomes the dominating factor

and it puts

us at an adversary relationship with our

kids and that’s not what i want

you know i want to make sure that we’re

not just harping them

about their homework or their grades or

the project that’s due or

you know getting getting you know

getting to school on time

or the the extracurriculars that they

have to be a part of

you know i i want to make sure that i’m

investing in quality time with my kids

talking about what’s going on in their

relationships with their friends

you know what  have they seen a

particularly funny

 meme or snapchat or youtube video

lately that they that they want to share

with me

 and i just try and enter into their

world for a little bit and

and do some relationship building

all right so now it’s now that you’re

the best version of you

 and you can 

provide support and you’ve made sure

your needs are met

now we can talk about ways that you can


your child can make sure that the

support they need is there

all right first of all make sure that

you still have all the supplies needed

it’s been

it’s been a year you know and so you may

be running out of tape or you may be

running out of staplers or or

or the right pen or any of those

resources and that they both have them

at home

and at school all right triple check

their work

because right now  and and i know this

to be true at our house

my child needs me to be the external

locus of control

it’s not just enough to say hey make

sure you get your homework done

i’ve got to check it and then i’ve got

to check it again and then i have to

make sure that it makes it to school

that it got turned in on virtual school

or it actually is a paper that got

turned in

and i i have to be an active part of

that much more so than than i really

wanted to be

all right another thing to remember is

be prepared to provide

 extra support in helping complete

assignments end of year projects

 our my son’s end of year project

speaking of saws

is to rehab a one of those old cross cut


and  i didn’t even know where to start

and so

you know it’s been a fun project that

we’ve been working on and he’s taking

video of it and

i can’t wait to see the progress that

we’ve made today and we had an epic fail

as we as we started and it’s interesting

that that working on those projects

together with him

has strengthened the relationship and

we’re having a lot of fun with it

 but but i am making sure that i’m

available and that he’s getting the

extra help he needs at the end of the

year because

as i was sharing with someone before the

webinar began he’s a senior

and he’s got the worst case of

senioritis and

he really wants almost nothing to do

with school right now and i’m sure some

of you are dealing with the same thing

and it’s just so hard

we can’t just throw up our hands and say

well fine then don’t go because

obviously that’s not

a solution  but finding ways to keep

them engaged and engaging with them

can be part of the solution  i also

i think that you know if you’ve got a

child who’s struggling in a particular


 course  you know it might be

helpful to schedule an end of your

meeting with that teacher and say okay

you know bottom line what is it what is

it that that you think he needs how can

i help

and and and actually create a plan with

that teacher or teachers

okay i’ve got a few more here 

lead by example in both attitude and


if  if you get down about the end of

the year

and and don’t  don’t have the right

attitude about it

that’s going to continue to encourage

and  and nurture their feelings of

of angst or avoidance

and then be engaging you know when my

child was little

we couldn’t go out to eat unless i was

really willing to be fully engaged with


and then things got better and we could

go out to eat and they could entertain


i’m here now at the end of school and i

have to think the same way

i have to be more engaged than i have

been because

at the end of the year kids are doing

this thing called terminating

there they recognize there’s a

transition coming

and they are losing interest in the the

here and the now

and let’s hope your teachers are doing

the same thing they know

that there’s an extraordinary number of

things that they can do differently

that are gonna pardon me that are that

are going to help them

 keep the lat at the end of the year


and so that  and and they’re

maintaining both that attitude

and practice of being supportive and

moving forward

  this is one of my favorites

practice the body double

and this may be the best piece of advice

i give you and

it is one that has been life-changing


me and my family the body double is

simply this

somebody’s in the room you don’t have to

be helping

but just having someone in the room 

you know i i recently was cleaning up my

garage i was just stuck

and my wife came out and sat down and


just started picking the things and

helping but just the fact that there was

another person there made all the


she went inside and my daughter came out


before i knew it i had the project


because i wasn’t alone

and just simply because somebody else

was in the room

allowed me to be more productive 

you know  there’s something i call the

scud hour

and when when when you’re

part of the routine is that they’re

doing homework from let’s say

you know seven o’clock to

eight o’clock then nobody is doing

anything fun

everybody from seven to eight is doing

something that they don’t necessarily

want to be doing

it could be you know paying bills it

could be

 catching up on you know getting the

kitchen clean

or it could be something but nobody is

getting to

relax have fun watch tv play on the


everybody’s involved

pardon me everybody’s involved in

something that they don’t really want to

be doing

and then finally i think it’s just

critical you’ve had a routine you’ve had

a wake-up time you’ve had hygiene time

you’ve had

homework time do not let go of that

routine right now

the routine is critical as much as you

can stick to the routine

structure equals consistency

consistency equals success

okay the next area that we’re going to

talk about is how do we celebrate this

year this year like

no other that we’ve ever had because it

really has been

an extraordinary year all right so i’ve

got a couple thoughts here

 the first is you know create a memory

board of your child’s best moments with

photos and notes and that could be

online it could be an actual poster

board it could be anything but take time

to smile and laugh

and celebrate it having survived the

year even for those of you that the year

has been miserable there have been


of of hope and there have been glimpses

of moments that things actually work

work with your child to pick out a gift

for the teachers they want to thank

and and be a part of that with them what

teachers do you want to thank

because because those teachers it you


a again my wife is a teacher and she

certainly appreciates being appreciated

but the gift is in the child actually

getting a chance

to be a part of that process and then

that that encourages them to reflect on

the the lessons learned and the gifts

given to them

 in practice knowledge and support by

the teachers that they want to say thank

you to

and that’s an important thing to reflect


 i would also encourage them to write

a letter reflecting on the lessons

learned to the teachers

that they really especially appreciated

and then i would keep that

keep that letter as a copy of that


as a reminder later because sometimes

going back and reading a letter that you

wrote to somebody

or a video that you recorded for


can be really  quite powerful to look

back at that and say wow you know what

it wasn’t as awful as i thought

or perhaps it was but

 but i think that  that that getting

a chance to

in some in some form have your child say

thank you to the people that

that helped make this year a success for

them could be really healthy

i’ve got a few other a few other

thoughts on the subject

 i think you really want to you know

celebrate any relationships that were

created or survived through the


of being apart physically you know

perhaps there was a new mentor or

a  a therapist that you know that

became a part of your

your world or perhaps there was some

activity that they became a part of

online that had

you know a new online presence or some

friends that they developed or maybe

there was a new relationship that they

they created or their or they had to

look a little bit closer to the


and and they made a new friend but you

know but

but i would think seriously about what

this year was

like and if any unique or interesting

opportunities and relationships came

from that

and then make sure that you get a chance

to sort of think about that

and reflect on that for a moment

i love the idea of thanking people for

how they helped you and your student

through this tough year with a

handwritten card

video message or call we talked about

your child being a part of that but i

think that it’s just as equally


for you to do the same thing because

when you think about

what it was that you went through as as

parents this year

it was extraordinary i mean we

we became our kids teachers we had to

invest a ton more time but but there

were people along the way that gave us

the support and the help that we needed

and writing a thank you note to them


would not only feel good to do but i’m

sure is also a really nice healthy step

in being able to celebrate what you

learned this year and what you had a

chance to accomplish

and i think it’s important not just to

simply focus or com

on some comparative metric of where

students should be

but also point out and celebrate how

your child improved at a skill

this is   you know 

there there are there are three things

that i really think are important when

you’re looking at

success the first is what did it take to

get to a place of success

and that’s called effort and sometimes

we can’t control the results but we can

control the amount of effort that we


and if you know and when your kids have

given really quality effort i think it’s

really important to to focus on that

the second is improvement in a skill

like you know i may not have gotten the

a that i was expecting but can i do

these set of skills now in a way that i

couldn’t before

what did i learn and then of course the

third is

you know results  did i make an a a b

a c a d  and so that’s a fairly broad

continu and i think each one of those


has to be examined and looked at

independently because they all have such

different components

you can anytime you give praise for


is going to be much more

there will be a much greater opportunity

the continued effort will be

intrinsically generated to do

because i can control my effort and i

really love that people appreciate it

about about me

sometimes i can give all the effort in

the world and and i’m not going to have

the success that i

that i that i wanted or that

and it’s simply because either my adhd

kicked in

and and i had a memory lapse or

it could be that i’m just not getting

the material but i’m trying doug on it

i’m trying

all right and the last one we’re going

to talk about is looking forward and

quite frankly i think this is the one

that is going to have the most value for


all right because  because i think it

i think when we end by looking at what

the beginning is

another covey begin with the end in mind

and so the first one i’m going to talk

about is

how do you create a transition plan

bridging the next year and know what to

expect in the fall

all right because i think that has to be

a part of what you’re doing at the end

of this year


many of you are about to transition into

the summer and

you know and you’ve got your summer plan

together but you don’t really yet know

what you’re going to be dealing oh sorry

about that

you don’t really know what you’re going

to be dealing with yet in regards to

 to the fall  are they transitioning

to a new school

is is the school plan to be you know

virtual or

are they are they all going like many

are to

 to full-time enrollment at the school

and i think that that by doing that

and and you create those expectations it

allows you to help

create a transition plan that will help

you make that bridge

because when kids know what to expect

they they tend to do much better

i also think it’s great to make a

calendar for the end of the year and

into the summer

with significant dates highlighted for

everybody and post it someplace

everybody can see it

that calendar becomes your bible and 

and many of you do great calendars but

if you don’t have one up yet

it’s time it’s a you know and and i

would also then encourage family members

when they say hey when is

when is that first session of summer

camp it’s on the calendar

teach folks to to to access the


and then make sure on that calendar that

you’ve added a special family

dinner celebrating the year again

i all of you know this it’s been a year


unlike any other that we’ve ever had and

getting through it

requires some measure of celebration and


i would certainly encourage you to do so

i also think that that you’re going to

want to create one or two reasonable

reachable goals for the end of the year

and and really kind of think about how

how you

how you want those to achieve those

goals and then how you’re going to

celebrate those goals once they’re


you remember back when we talked about

that meeting with your end of

you know end of year meeting with a

teacher in a subject that your child may

be struggling with

this is a great time to kind of say okay

if you had one goal

for for my son or my daughter by the end

of the school year what would it be

and then track them keep track of them

keep supporting them

and then be really ready to celebrate


all right  we’ve got four more here 

have your child get the contact

information from the peers they want to

engage with over the summer

you know again perhaps there were some

new relationships that were built

but but if but if the school isn’t going

to provide a phone list

make sure in these last few weeks that

you’re getting some of those numbers

 have you registered for summer camp

all right  give me a 

you know just  you know in the chat

bar let me know if you’ve registered for

summer camp

and it doesn’t necessarily have to be

sore but if you have it why not

summer camp is such an extraordinary

opportunity for kids to learn and grow


and kind of get outside themselves a

little bit 

our registration is off the charts 

you know we’ve in fact we’ve shut down

an awful lot of our  our courses

so  you know it’s 

 all right

 the next one i’m gonna mention is 

 get your summer routine and schedule

ready to have your child

and be and have your child participate

in the development of that summer


what’s wake up time going to be what’s

you know are they are they going to have

a what you know the responsibility chart

are they going to have a week that

they’re responsible for

doing the dishes  how’s that all gonna


be thinking about what your summer

routine and schedule will look like

and so and make sure that your kids are

part of its development

all of your kids  because again when i

get a chance to be on board with the

process of creating something then i

certainly am going to have a chance to

be much more invested

in how that’s going to go

and the last one is including that

schedule again wake up times

responsibilities daily routine bedtime

so those are just a couple thoughts that

i have about

 things that you can do to help wrap

up the end of the year

in preparation of your summer and the

next school year

i would like to thank all of you for

attending i

i really appreciate the opportunity to

get a chance to connect with you

and  i would like to remind you

that  that next month

we have a  another 

 another another webinar and we’ll go


an email will go out with what that

webinar is i don’t

have it here right here  that’s


 and june is jim’s webinar as summer

is here

now what okay summer’s here now what now


 and we’ll talk about some ideas for

 what you can do during the summer to

make summer fun at home

and then i’ll review some

opportunities that i’m

i’m aware of  by by june 8

i suspect that we may be completely full

all right folks be well take care have a

wonderful wonderful week

and thank you for tuning in thank you

johnny thank you

bye thank you