Whether you’re a student, teacher, or caregiver, Washington MESA is here to provide resources and support for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and female students on their pathways to success in STEM!

Tips for Care-Givers

Start getting your students back into their typical routine one-two weeks before school starts. Students may need some time to adjust to their sleeping schedule during school days. Help them get back into routine by setting earlier bedtimes and wake-up times to have students feeling prepared every morning.

The start of a new school year can bring on a lot of anxiety for students. Have a conversation about their expectations for the school year so that way you can manage expectations and troubleshoot any worries your students may have. Encourage your student to questions about their upcoming school year so they can feel more at ease.

Reach out to your student’s teachers and be open to communicate with them. Teachers are your allies in ensuring your student is having a healthy, safe, and enriching experience at school! Make sure your student’s school administration has the most up-to-date contact information to make it easier for teachers or administrators to reach out.

After-school routines are just as important as morning routines for students. Students should have a time every afternoon set aside for homework and studying. Even if you may not be home as soon as your student returns from school, talk to them or their afternoon caretaker about the importance of setting aside dedicated study time.

A student’s success can take a whole village, but MESA can ensure students’ success in math and science and provide additional academic support when needed. Check out your closest MESA center and find how you and your student can get involved.

Tips for Teachers

Although larger class sizes can make it difficult, spend plenty of time in the first few days of school getting to know all your students. This can be from fun ice-breaker games, questionnaires, or conversations. Knowing a student’s learning style can set you both up for success for the whole school year. This kind of interaction can also make the student feel welcomed and seen. 

Utilize the beginning of the school year for getting ahead. Although it’s always difficult to know what this year will bring, set aside some time while you’re organizing your classroom to plan the lessons you can in advance, work on any school trip contracts or grant proposals you may do in the year. Make a to-do list of items big and small that you can check off as much as possible before the year really kicks in. When you have time throughout the year, check back in on your checklist. Planning a little here and there can make a huge difference in how the whole year goes.

Adopt a growth mindset. At times, it can feel like behaviors and classroom skills can never be adjusted. Students are perceptive and can always tell if their current behavior is just be accepted rather than encouraged down a different path. Students can benefit from this belief in themselves too. Students should always be encouraged and uplifted, they should know that their behavior and skills are not “fixed” at birth. Instill in your students that there is always room to improve and grow. 

Depending on where you teach, guidelines and precautions can look very different from last year. Get familiar with your local guidelines and the expectations set by your school administration. Give yourself plenty of time to set up your classroom to abide by these guidelines. At the start of the year, clearly communicate all safety expectations with your class to set a standard for the whole year. Students will learn best when they feel safe and at ease in the classroom.

Tips for Students

You don’t need fancy school supplies to stay organized. Use what organizational method makes the most sense for your study style and stick to it. Be sure to also keep track of more than just your homework assignments like extracurricular events, any scholarship deadlines, and holidays. Getting into a routine before and after school can keep you organized.

Use your class time wisely! If a teacher finishes an activity early and gives you free time get a leg up on any homework assignments to minimize your homework time after school. Plan ahead and make sure you aren’t saving all your assignments for the day before their due. You’ll always do your best work when you give yourself plenty of time to do your assignments thoroughly and check over them.

Prepare a distraction-free study space. Muting social media notifications and putting away your phone can minimize the amount of time you spend distracted and then refocusing on an assignment. Limiting distractions can limit the amount of time you have to spend on a particular task. Work smarter, not longer!

Get involved! No matter your grade level/class year there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with your school or local organizations! Check in with your local MESA center for extra-curricular opportunities that will put you on the pathway to success!