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The most important thing you can do is help your student get to bed early and arrive at school ready to learn.

Chuck RansomSchool is in session! We've had just over two months to get students settled and into the routine of learning. Around this time of year, parents and guardians are in contact with our faculty and staff wondering what they can do to help their students get the most out of the school year and achieve academically.

The most important thing you can do is help your student get to bed early and arrive at school ready to learn. I, too, am a parent, and realize that sounds easier than it is. Here are a few tips we have used in our home that have helped:

Limit screen time. Studies show that artificial light from smartphones and computers actually make it harder for people to sleep. Negotiating with your student to limit time on the internet and social media can help them get a good night's rest. We've also found that it improves the time we spend together as a family.

Another word about smart phones. Technology can be great, but it can also be dangerous. Unrestricted and unsupervised access to smartphones is a real problem for students and schools. Having a system in place to monitor your child's device and activities is critically important. Long-term, we are working to develop some strong school and family partnerships around this issue. Short-term, you may find this article in Consumer Reports magazine helpful: http://www.consumerreports.org/smartphones/how-to-use-parental-controls-on-a-smartphone/.

Pay attention to school attendance. Your child can't learn if s/he is not in school. The Woodburn School District has some of the highest graduation rates in the state. However, approximately 20 percent of our students are in danger of being chronically absent (missing 17 days of school this year). We're working to improve this number and need your help to do so.

Update your contact information with your child's school. We are working hard to improve school safety on our campuses as part of the protocols that were developed last year. Phone numbers and emails will be used to communicate more effectively with parents and guardians if an emergency were to occur. Contact your student's school during regular business hours so we can keep you up to date.

There are a variety of ways you can receive information about the school district and its activities. Our website is http://www.woodburnsd.org and all the individual schools have pages accessible through there. We're on Facebook at WSD103. The local Woodburn Independent does a great job of sharing information https://pamplinmedia.com/woodburn-independent-news/ and we are grateful for this partnership. We also send out a printed quarterly newsletter to all registered voters, a copy of which can be found on our web site in English, Spanish and Russian. And recently, we started video updates using Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/woodburnsd.

If there is something else we should be doing, please let us know. Our goal is to make sure we provide timely information in a format that you use. Thank you.

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