Dear Students,

As the Fall 2015 school year begins, I want to wish you the best year ever. Your school performance should be your number one priority even as you balance all your personal issues and commitments.

I remember my own school days and the anticipation of the new school year. I was excited to get back with my friends and classmates and I was eager to get back into the school routine. And I was also nervous about what was ahead. This is normal and I know all of my six children experienced these same feelings.

There is a rhythm to the school year and you must commit to stay the course. If you miss a day or are late, get back to class as soon as possible and find out what classwork you need to make up.

Some of you may resist the routine and be reluctant to get back to the swing of things. Plan to get up early on the first day of school and allow enough time (an extra 30 minutes) to get to school on time.

Keep up with your classwork. There will be ups and many downs. Hardships at home, difficult subject matter to master, personal  relationships with distractions, and even health issues. My advice to you is to seek help for these issues. Go to your counselor, go to a teacher, or go to the CIS office and let them know you are in need.

Attend school everyday and do your homework. Find a quiet place to do your homework either at home or at school. Do not get behind in your work. Ask for help immediately if you do not understand the course material so you can keep up with the work.

Reach out to others and build up them up. Maybe sit with someone new whom you do not know at lunch. Be kind and friendly and helpful. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied and of course, never ever be a bully yourself. You have value and deserve good treatment.

Honor your teachers. Your teacher is committed to helping you learn the subject. If you will treat her/him with respect, you will have her respect and help in return. This can only benefit you.

Contribute to the life of your school. Join a club or a sports team or the singing group. You will be rewarded by these efforts through friendships and a sense of belonging.

You may feel like quitting; you may feel like sleeping in. NO! Pull yourself together and go to class. Do your very best. Ask for what you want. Let CIS be a resource and a refuge for you.

I want you to finish strong this year.

Wishing you a wonderful school year.

Mary Craddock

Board Member with Communities In Schools of Houston