IT'S USEFUL AT TIMES TO HAVE A FRESH PERSPECTIVE TO “MAKE THE GRADE.” WITH THIS
IN MIND WE HERE AT OUTLOOK-12 HAVE CREATED A SPECIAL COLUMN WHERE YOU, OUR
READERS, CAN WRITE TO US WITH YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL QUESTIONS AND
GET PERSPECTIVE AND INSIGHTS FROM OUR RESIDENT AWARD-WINNING EDUCATION
VETERAN AND CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST GARY COOPER. AN EDUCATOR FOR MORE THAN
45 YEARS, GARY HAS TAUGHT STUDENTS FROM NURSERY SCHOOL TO COLLEGE AND IS
ALSO A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR. IN ADDITION, GARY HAS WORKED AS AN ADMINISTRATOR,
GRANT WRITER, CHANGE AGENT AND READING SPECIALIST.
Q: I am a newly appointed middle school vice principal. Can you give me any advice as I get
ready for the new school year?
A: First, let me say congratulations on your new appointment. The single most important skill of any administrator is his or her ability to listen. Too often administrators want to voice their opinion rather than listen to parents, students or members of their faculty. Remember, you can be friendly but avoid being a “friend” to teachers or students. At times you must be the voice of authority. To start try being proactive and let everyone know what is expected by you. Pay attention to the learning process instead of spending an overt amount of energy on curriculum.
Good luck in the upcoming school year and let me know how things are going.
Q: My daughter will be entering high school in September. The school will not place her in a college preparatory program due to her poor grades in middle school. I want my child to go
to college, but I fear the general program will hinder her future chances to enter college. What
should I do?
A: Your daughter’s school may have helped your daughter have a pleasant high school experience and achieve a four-year college education or more. Upon graduating many four-year colleges and almost all community colleges will accept students coming from a general education program. After a student has a successful junior college experience (C average or
better), many four-year schools will accept her as a transfer student. Let your daughter do well in school and mature as a successful, happy student.
Q: Our son’s school wants him placed on medication. His pediatrician has expressed strong
concerns about him and also wants to try a medication. We are very reluctant to medicate
our seven-year-old. What should we do?
A: Although I believe as a society we may be over medicating our children, I would suggest that you follow the advice of your son’s doctor. My rule of thumb is to allow about three months to evaluate the impact of any drug. Allow the doctor to make adjustments in the dosage or alter the medication. Ask your son’s teacher to be in continual contact with you about your son’s educational experience. Please remember that placing a child on medication is not necessarily a life long commitment. Frequently, these medications will only be useful for a relatively short period of time in the overall experience of a student’s total school experience.
If you would like to write to Gary for advice, please email email@example.com