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  • Writer's pictureApril Avey Trabucco

Counselor's Corner: Tips from Bainbridge Island Teachers. Part 1

Once a month, Raising Resilience features a post from a local therapist or educator. This month's post is an interview with Bainbridge Island teachers, elementary through high school. Part 2 of this post will be posted next week.


Whether you’re sending your little darling to kindergarten or college - BACK TO SCHOOL can elicit a wide range emotions.

We interviewed some of our Bainbridge Island teachers and counselors about how to prepare yourself and your child for a good school year. Here’s what they had to say:


GRADES K-4 Janette Dodge, Counselor: Ordway Elementary

  • Try getting in a routine before the school year starts.

  • Touch base with your student after school starts to open lines of communication.

  • Keep in mind that for some students change comes easier than for others.

GRADES 5-6 Karen Knezevich, Special Education 5th & 6th: Sakai Intermediate

  • Talk with your child about their expectations and concerns.

  • Check staff websites together. Many teachers include bios that show them as real people.

  • Establish an open line of communication with your child’s teacher(s) at the beginning of the year. Teachers will appreciate your support and knowing that you are a team.

GRADES 7-8 Keri Schmit, 8th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies: Woodward Middle School

  • Help your student figure out a schedule that includes designated time for homework each day.

  • Organizational tools like planners, Google calendar, and phone reminders can help them keep to this schedule.

GRADES 9-12 D’Arcy Clements, Mathematics (Precalculus, Geometry): Bainbridge High School

  • Teenagers need sleep. Start shifting their schedule now. Encourage them to get to bed earlier so they can get up earlier. Don’t wait until school starts, they need time to adjust.


GRADES K-4 Ms. Dodge

  • Encourage an open mind set. Learning is about trying something new, making mistakes along the way and feeling supported and guided.

  • There’s a great book called GRIT: THE POWER OF PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE by Angela Duckworth that talks about this concept.

GRADES 5-6 Ms. Knezevich

  • My favorite tool is to establish a positive mindset.

  • ‘Catch them being/doing good.’ Notice good things that happen and let them know you see it. It can be anything from a chore completed to asking for help when needed. By doing this, kids receive affirmation of success and when a challenge hits, you’ve built up a foundation that enables them to work through that challenge. They can see themselves as capable of working through adversity because they have a history of it and know that you see them in the same light.

GRADES 7-8 Ms. Schmit

  • Allow your students to experience failure. This can be hard to do. So often parents want to protect their kids from any possible bad thing. When we do this, we deny kids the opportunity to learn that failure is a natural part of life, it’s not a bad thing. They will learn from it.

GRADES 9-12 Ms. Clements

  • Let kids know the importance of positive self-talk. It combats stress imposed by themselves and others. “It’s OK, I will recover from this.”

  • Tell them they don’t have to be perfect. They will still go to college. It’s OK to make mistakes. If they make them now, they’ll increase their ability to avoid them later.


GRADES K-4 Ms. Dodge

  • I really like LoveandLogin. It gives quick parenting tips, so I actually have time to read them.

GRADES 9-12 Ms. Clements

  • GrownandFlown is a great site for parents with highschoolers or college kids. The articles are short and give relevant perspective on this stage of parenting.


GRADES K-4 Ms. Dodge

  • During the summer my family spends a lot of time outdoors which really helps us get ready for the upcoming school year.

  • I try to enjoy the moment. I know my kids will go off into their own lives soon and I try to enjoy each year and appreciate them for who they are in their current developmental stage.

GRADES 7-8 Ms. Schmit

  • Establishing clear expectations from a young age really helps, especially when they go through their teens.

  • I also worked hard to create a relationship with my kids where they feel like they can talk to me about anything without me judging or getting angry.

GRADES 9-12 Ms. Clements

  • I take 30 minutes each night before bed to check in with myself. I breath, assess, and reflect.

  • Take the break when you have it. Rest when you can and take little escapes to refresh.

Check back next week to read tips on:

avoiding academic meltdowns; identifying social/emotional flags;

questions to ask your kids; and words of encouragement for parents.

#bainbridgeislandparents #raisingresilience

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