Parent Information



Nurse School Health Advisory Council

A School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is a group of individuals approved by the school district to represent their school and community in coordinated school health areas. They provide advice on school health programming and its impact on student health and learning. SHAC provides recommendations specific to changes and/or additions to the school's health education curriculum or instruction that impact the entire school district.

We would like to invite all parents and community members to be a part of our next meeting.  

Home Alone-Safety Tips for Working Parents with Latchkey Kids

"Home Alone" took on a whole new meaning after the movies about a youngster who found himself left behind in the familyresidence without his parents, and yet proved to be resourceful, fiercely independent, and successful in thwarting would-be intruders. These huge box office comedy thrillers created another urban hero figure - that of the super kid who is afraid of nothing and who is safe on his own.

This story might be entertaining to watch on the screen, but it hardly represents the reality of today's latchkey kids. Today, however, with an increasing number of parents who work, there are more children who are at home alone after school, and many who care for younger siblings, too. There is no magic formula to measure a child's readiness to assume self care at home. Very often, circumstances drive the issue; daycare might become unavailable, cost-prohibitive, or unsatisfactory, or there is no neighbor nearby to provide supervision along with their own children. A latchkey child should want to stay alone, and be comfortable assuming the additional responsibility. Some experts suggest that an excellent way to find out is to ask your child - most children will tell the truth. If your youngster is prone to be a worrier, has nightmares, or is nervous or anxious when he or she is alone, they may not be ready to stay by themselves. There are children, on the other hand, who will welcome the opportunity to demonstrate their maturity and will take pride in being allowed to take charge. In most cases, however, it will probably take a considerable amount of family discussion before a decision is reached.

The other issue intertwined in whether or not children are allowed home alone is are the parents ready to leave their youngsters unsupervised at home. The first question to ask yourself is, "What is going to give me an acceptable level of confidence about this?" In other words, what do you need to know about the safety of your child being at home that will allow you to do whatever it is that keeps you away from home in the first place? Consider your children's maturity level. Do they understand - and follow - safety instructions? How do they do when it comes to making decisions under pressure? Do they think clearly and make the choice you would want them to? Do you have any firsthand information about how they would react in an emergency? How safe is your neighborhood? Do you - and your child - know your neighbors, and trust any (or some) of them to come to your child's aid if necessary? Do they know about calling 9-1-1?

If you can't answer these questions with confidence, perhaps more time is needed to reach a decision. Another important thing for parents to consider is the law. In Texas, for example, under the section covering "abandoning or endangering a child," a person commits an offense if, having custody, care or control of a child younger than 15 years, he intentionally leaves the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk. It is the position of Child Protective Services that a school age child may be left in the home alone if he or she has the mental and physical ability to react in an emergency situation.

Parents certainly don't want to make their children paranoid about staying alone in the house. It is entirely appropriate to go over safety instructions and to discuss potential dangers. Things have, unfortunately, changed in our society and each of us has the responsibility for our own security and protection. This is a case where it is truly better to be safe than sorry.

Here are some other basic safety tips for being home alone:

  • Establish "House Rules." Write them down, post them, and review them periodically.
  • Stress early on that parents should not be called to settle minor sibling disputes and disagreements.
  • Practice emergency procedures, including calling 9-1-1. Don't assume that youngsters will know what to say on the phone in the event of an emergency, so rehearse some possible situations.
  • If you have a change of plans, or if you are not going to return home when you said you would, call and reassure your children. They tend to worry when things don't go according to plan, and a lack of information can cause them to panic.
  • There are many occasions during the school year when youngsters have after-school activities. Be sure to discuss each day's schedule - including all transportation plans - so that parent's won't worry if the "safe home" message is not received when expected.
  • Try to avoid placing too much responsibility on a young child and listen carefully when a "home alone-er" wants to share concerns or problems.

Remember, no matter how mature your child acts, he or she is still a child. Children invariably make mistakes; they don't always react in a situation as you wish they would. And, even if they start off well without adult supervision, they can get "spooked" and develop real fears about being home by themselves. Give your youngsters lots of encouragement, support and reinforcement, and treat their mistakes as learning experiences instead of failures. Show them how much you appreciate their helpfulness, self-reliance and cooperation while you are away, and be liberal with appropriate rewards.


How should I help my child with homework?

  • Talk with your child's teacher about homework policies. Make sure you know the purpose of the homework assignments, how long they should take, and how the teacher wants you to be involved in helping your child complete them.
  • Agree with your child on a set time to do homework every day.
  • Make sure that your child has a consistent, well-lit, fairly quiet place to study and do homework. Encourage your child to study at a desk or table rather than on the floor or in an easy chair. Discourage distractions such as TV or calls from friends.
  • Make sure the materials needed to do assignments-papers, books, pencils, a dictionary, encyclopedia, computer-are available. Show your child how to use reference books or computer programs and appropriate web sites. Ask your child to let you know if special materials are needed and have them ready in advance.
  • Talk with your child about assignments to see that he/she understands them. 
  • When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Doing assignments for your child won't help him/her understand and use information or help him/her become confident in his/her own abilities. 
  • If you are unable to help your child with a subject, ask for help from a relative. Also see if the school, library or a community or religious organization can provide tutoring or homework help. 
  • Check to see that your child has done all the work assigned. Sign the homework if your child's school requires this. 
  • Watch for signs of frustration or failure. Let your child take a short break if /heshe is having trouble keeping his/her mind on an assignment. 
  • Reward progress. If your child has been successful in completing an assignment and is working hard, celebrate with a special event-reading a favorite story or playing a game together-to reinforce the positive effort. 
  • Read the teacher's comments on assignments that are returned. If a problem comes up, arrange to meet with the teacher and work out a plan and a schedule to solve it.





What can I do at home to help my child succeed in school? 

  • Create a home environment that encourages learning and schoolwork. Establish a daily family routine of mealtimes with time for homework, chores and bedtime as well as time for family activities.
  • Show your child that the skills he is learning in school are an important part of the things he will do as an adult. Let him/her see you reading books, newspapers and computer screens; writing reports, letters, e-mails and lists; using math to figure change or to measure for new carpeting; and doing things that require thought and effort.
  • Make sure that your home has lots of reading materials that are appropriate for your child. Keep books, magazines and newspapers in the house. You can find many good books and magazines for your child at yard or library sales. Books make good gifts.
  • Encourage your child to use the library. Ask the librarian to tell your child about special programs that he/she might participate in, such as summer reading programs and book clubs and about services such as homework help.
  • Limit TV viewing to no more than one hour on a school night. Be aware of the shows your child likes to watch and discuss his choices with him/her. The same goes for video games.
  • Help your child learn to use the Internet properly and effectively.
  • Encourage your child to be responsible and to work independently. Taking responsibility and working independently are important qualities for school success.
  • Show an interest in what your child does in school. Support his/her special interests by attending school plays, musical events, science fairs or sporting events.
  • Offer praise and encouragement for achievement and improvement.