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Dr. Frank Roberson

The "normal" inception of the 2020-2021 school year is just 90 days away for most of America's school-age children, pending safe and favorable conditions associated with the management and eventual annihilation of the novel coronavirus. School officials across the academic spectrum are preparing a framework to deliver educational opportunities for the nation's schoolchildren and college scholars.

Hopefully, normalcy will soon surface. In the meantime, parents must maintain communication with school officials for the best information and path forward. Everyone must take the virus-prevention measures and responsibilities seriously. Now is the time for everyone to exercise personal and limited social behaviors: Stay safe and follow standard Center for Disease Control guidelines. With everyone following the guidelines, this crisis can be managed and eventually cleared.

The skills that have been implemented by educators, parents and students during the pause will, perhaps, take center stage in the education arena for a longer period of time.

It is fortunate that there will be no significant academic loss, as educators, parents and students have gained priceless insight into the process of teaching and learning. The positive side of this pandemic will be the parent-student-educator engagement that has not been seen on this scale in the history of American public education. 

This new school-year is excellent for students to have their minds set and prepared for new, nontraditional learning opportunities that formal schooling will have to present this fall and throughout the school year. As such, the strategic initiation of the preparation and fertilization process belongs exclusively to parents and their students. Fertilization (commonly associated with the science of agriculture) has to do with the application of something to an object to produce a desirable outcome.

In this scenario, the object is a learned student. The plan here is to use fertilization as a preparation-and-readiness-to-learn process. There are several methods parents may apply to have their student ready for the new school year:

1. Always show the teacher and others in authority (actually all adults in the schoolhouse setting) measurable respect. Respect is not an innate characteristic – it does not surface naturally, Students have to be taught how to possess and display respect. Respect is defined as a feeling of deep admiration of someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. Students must know first that their parents hold teachers in very high regard. Students should never hear disparaging remarks from parents about teachers. Parents must always collaborate with teachers to create the best learning opportunities possible. Parents must concentrate on the positive attributes of their children's teachers and celebrate the attributes with their children so that the children will learn how to appreciate, adore and respect the teacher and the total education process.

2. Always show peers and classmates respect. The notion of treating others the way you yourself wish to be treated is very useful in a classroom, school bus or school ground setting.

3. Master efficient ways to remember information presented by the teacher.

4. Emphasize the significance of putting forth one's best effort toward the completion of a task.

This parent-enforced fertilization process should produced good results in all areas, concerning schooling. Students should always be encouraged by parents to perform their best with all assignments, small and large. The intrinsic reward for the student is the respect for process.

Parents, Students and Teachers are to be congratulated for their success in maintaining the continuous flow of the education process, reaching an achievement milestone in nontraditional delivery of educational opportunities. Even though a traditional ceremony cannot be observed with the traditional pomp and circumstance, the achievement still remains highly celebrated by the community. A very bright future is available to the class of 2020; go preparedly to claim it.

Dr. Frank G. Roberson is the former executive director of Horse Creek Academy Charter School.