Anaheim Central Library Indie Author Day – October 8, 2016

Anaheim Central Library Indie Author DayAnaheim Central Library Indie Author Day
Saturday, October 8, 2016
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
500 W. Broadway
Anaheim, CA 92805

On this day, libraries across the nation will be holding special events to commemorate independent authors in their area.

Karyn Rashoff will be signing and selling her books – “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years” and “Kids in Musicianland: 5 Reasons to Stick With It” – at this event, along with other small press and self-published Orange County authors.


Parent Workshop – Seal Beach – Los Alamitos – September 21, 2016

Parent Workshop
Seal Beach – Los Alamitos – Rossmoor Public Library
September 21, 2016

5:00 pm
12700 Montecito Road
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Get ready for the start of the school year! Parent workshop on guiding teens toward success in high school: Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years. Karyn will be signing both of her books, “Kids in Musicianland” and “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years.”

Parenting Workshop – Katie Wheeler Library – Irvine, CA September 15, 2016

Katie Wheeler Library
Thursday, September 15, 2016
6:00 pm
13109 Old Myford Road
Irvine, CA 92602

Karyn Rashoff will facilitate a parenting workshop using her specially created Tip Sheets, a helpful PowerPoint presentation, and her book “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years.”  Karyn will be signing that book as well as her new book “Kids in Musicianland: 5 Reasons to Stick With It.”

Are You Teaching Your Teen to be a Victim?

What is a victim? A victim is powerless. Tim and his mother met with me because he was struggling in his classes. A gifted fifteen-year-old with great potential, Tim leaned comfortably against his mother as she ruffled his hair with her fingers. His father traveled extensively on business and was seldom home. Tim sunk against his mom as she spoke about his many limitations and disabilities. I turned to him to ask his opinion about what was going on in school, and his mother answered for him as if he was unable to communicate. He seemed relieved that she was answering as we tried to problem-solve. I’d never seen a mother and son sit so close to each other; she was almost propping him up – and he was shrinking before my very eyes.

As I watched this dance, I wanted to grab Tim by the shoulders and sit him up straight in his own chair away from his mother. My heart started beating faster as I heard the litany of problems – physical and emotional – that his mother listed as he mutely listened to her, but he appeared to be smiling ever so slightly. He seemed almost pleased that the conference was going this way, and I don’t think this was the first time. How many times had Tim heard his mother list his supposed shortcomings? How many times had he smiled as he listened to her? I felt sickened that she was keeping him from his great potential and independence.

Your Challenge as a Parent:

  1. Help him feel what success feels like. Let him achieve success on his own.
  2. Have realistic expectations and support both the expectations and your teen.
  3. Don’t set your own expectations so high that you set him up for failure.
  4. Talk with your teen about his passions outside of school and perhaps volunteering.
  5. Involve your teen in a self-esteem character building activity where he experiences a sense of accomplishment along with the joy of recognition.
  6. Parent involvement is very important in reinforcing and supporting your teen’s dedication.

A Wise Mom’s Valuable Advice

TIP SHEET #13:   A Wise Mom’s Valuable Advice

  1. Don’t let your children believe that your love and approval depends on their grades, athletic ability, or success.
  • They need to be successful in their own right, not because you need to validate yourself.
  • Be their biggest cheerleader, staunchest advocate and strongest support system.
  1. Love them unconditionally for who they are, not for what they accomplish.
  • Kids know the difference.
  • Make time for them to download their day to you. Having time to connect with them every day involves you in their lives and helps prevent unexpected bumps in the road.
  1. Give your kids as much trust as you can – and lead by example.
  • Be trustworthy yourself.
  • Teach your kids that everything in life doesn’t come to you naturally.
  • Inspire a sense of values, work ethic and motivation – despite the obstacles.
  1. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • If they come to believe that you trust them, they’re more likely to live up to your belief in them.
  • Set limits on their use of technology: the vast majority of homework doesn’t need a computer.
  • Create a quiet space for them to do their homework away from the TV and other distractions.
  1. We are what people think we are.
  • The child who is convinced that trustworthiness is a positive value is likely to be trustworthy.
  • Put them with kids who are headed for achievement, then back away a little.
  • Create time for your child to be successful without burning her out. Keep it simple, and don’t push.

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What Can You Do When Your Kids are Young to Help Them Like School?

TIP SHEET #12:   What Can You Do When Your Kids are Young to Help Them Like School?

  1. Read to your kids at bedtime.
  • Read aloud to them even after they learn to read so they can hear the vocabulary of the book
  • “Partner read” – take turns reading aloud.
  1. Check and supervise homework in elementary school.
  • If you don’t check homework, if your child is struggling in an area, you aren’t in touch
  • You are signaling to your child that school is important enough to take your time in the evening to see what she has done.
  1. Good study habits are formed in elementary and middle school.
  • Try to keep organized
  • Stress occurs when you can’t find what you need or know where you’re supposed to go.
  1. Be involved in classroom activities, even though you might work full-time.
  • As an occasional room helper, you see a special view of your own child’s life
  • You observe other children: their learning and potential friends of your child.
  1. Keep homework simple and routine.
  • Give time to unwind when they get home
  • Do homework before play.
  1. Invite kids to your house to study when you are home.
  • This “normalizes” studying and makes it social
  • This demonstrates that school is important.
  1. Let her pick out her own study materials and accessories.
  • She will take more “ownership” if she chooses supplies
  • Help her arrange her study area, removing distractions.

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California Association of School Counselors Conference 2015

California Association of School Counselors ConferenceThe 15th Annual California Association of School Counselors Conference is being held October 9 – 10, 2015, with a pre-conference on October 8, 2015.

The School Counselors: Leading Students to the Next Level conference will focus on five themes: Mental health in schools; LCAP/LCFF, Career & college readiness + common core; Alternative means of correction, and Data, Accountability and Technology.

Karyn Rashoff will be presenting during the October 9th session.

Friday, October 9, 2015
California Association of School Counselors Conference
Riverside Convention Center
Riverside, CA 92501
Click here for more information.

Bad Teacher: Here’s Your Road Map for Dealing with Difficult Teachers

Dealing with Difficult Teachers

Dealing with Difficult Teachers

Bad Teacher: Here’s Your Road Map for Dealing with Difficult Teachers

July 21 – 2015   2:25 PM
Contributing writer
OC Family

[Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this article.]

This is not a story about teachers who are sex offenders, or selling drugs or hitting children. This is a story about teachers who walk a complicated line. They may speak to their students in a harsh tone, or read grades aloud to shame the underachievers, or play favorites in a way that’s difficult to pin down. They are not breaking the law or even school rules, but they are making your child miserable.

Most teachers are good people. They are hard working, compassionate men and women who care deeply about learning and about the children they teach. But there are a few bad apples, and most parents will have to deal with a problematic teacher during their child’s school career. When your kid lands in the classroom of a bad teacher, how should you handle it?

What should a parent do if her child comes home complaining that a teacher doesn’t like him, or if she suddenly stops wanting to attend school? How can you unravel whether it’s the teacher, your kid or something else that’s the problem? And what should you do about the situation?

Stay Calm and Investigate

“Collect information,” advises Karyn Rashoff, a counselor at El Toro High School in Lake Forest for more than 20 years and now an author. “Most teachers have websites. Read them to learn classroom expectations and whether your child has missed any assignments.”

Speak with your child about his or her concerns, and try to get specific details.

If you’re worried that a teacher used degrading or inappropriate language, “Get the quote,” says Rashoff. “Ask, ‘Exactly, what did he say?’ ”

Keep questions somewhat casual, so your child doesn’t exaggerate or clam up. A kindergartner might say a teacher is “mean” because she makes him stay in his seat or do his work, so it might simply be a case of explaining to your child the normal expectations at school. If you do start to hear things that concern you, try to keep your emotions in check as you decide what to do next. That’s not always easy for parents.

If you do think there is a problem, let your child know that you want to work with the teacher to make sure school is a positive experience.

“If the parent is not happy with what he or she perceives is going on with the school, I would always encourage parents to say something,” says Leslie Coghlan, director of Pupil Services for the Anaheim City School District.

“We know that children who are happy to be going to school have higher success rates,” adds Yesenia Navarro, Curriculum Specialist for parent involvement for the Anaheim City School District.

Go to the Teacher

“One thing you never want to do is blindside a teacher,” says Maureen Christensen, president of the Fourth District Parent Teacher Association, which represents all of the PTA councils in Orange County.

Until you talk with the teacher, you do not have the full picture of what is happening in the classroom, just your child’s perception of it. So don’t request a meeting with the school principal or school board without talking to the teacher first. If you feel an issue needs to be raised, make an appointment with the teacher.

Try to be diplomatic, and use non-blaming language. Say something like, “I’m wondering if you could help me understand what’s going on with Steve,” rather than, “Steve says you are mean.” Go into the meeting assuming the best of the teacher and your child, but be prepared to hear your child may have done something to annoy the teacher. Contrary to many parents’ assumptions, our little angels aren’t always perfect.

“Maybe it’s a case where your child hasn’t turned in four assignments. If you     don’t do your work, you’re not going to be as respected as a kid who does his or her work,” Rashoff says. Ideally, the teacher will shed light on the situation and become your ally to make sure your child is in the best learning environment. If that’s not the case — or if the teacher becomes defensive — try to keep your calm and reiterate that you are just trying to learn as much as you can about the situation. 

One practical tip from school experts: To schedule a meeting with a teacher, email is better than the phone, and it is reasonable to expect an answer within about 24 hours.

One more reminder: “It is best to establish connections with your children’s teachers before any problems arise”, says Marisol Cordova, a community liaison at Edison Elementary in Anaheim, who works daily as a link between parents and school officials. Many schools — especially ones with large populations of English-language learners — have community liaisons like Cordova, and they can be a valuable ally to help parents best advocate for their children.

“Make yourself present. Even if you work, email the teacher at the beginning of the year to introduce yourself and offer support. Stop by back-to-school night so they know who you are,” Cordova says. Christensen adds: “If you are in constant communication, then there shouldn’t be any surprises.”

Now, Reassess

Maybe your meeting with the teacher cleared up a little misunderstanding. Maybe you learned that your child’s teacher is a little grumpy or serious, which means you can help your child understand that just because someone doesn’t smile all the time, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t like him.

“It’s important for kids to learn how to deal with different personality types because they have to deal with them in the real world,” says Rashoff. But if you have raised concerns with the teacher on more than one occasion, and don’t feel you have gotten a good resolution, it’s time for a decision. Do you help your child make the best of the current situation — or go over the teacher’s head to complain to the principal?

Christensen says her son had a dour kindergarten teacher that he didn’t really like during his school career. She dealt with the problem by volunteering to help more in the classroom and reinforcing to her son that he was still learning in school even though his teacher didn’t seem like the warmest person.

“While principals want students to be in an environment where they can succeed, there is no ‘constitutional right’ to have the teacher you choose,” Rashoff says.     “In middle and high schools in particular, sometimes a particular teacher is the only one who teaches a certain subject, so students have to adjust to different teaching styles.”

In that case, it is important to work with your teenager to make sure they don’t sabotage themselves. Rashoff recalls that her son didn’t like his AP European History teacher, so he stopped doing the work and his grade suffered for it.

“He was really punishing himself,” Rashoff says.

In the rare case a principal cannot resolve the issue, only then should parents consider contacting the district office to complain. The takeaway for parents is that they should really consider themselves a partner with their child’s teacher. That’s all the more true now that the new Local Control Funding Formula for schools specifically names parental involvement as one of eight priorities for districts, says Coughlan of the Anaheim City School District.

“Parent input is always valued and appreciated, and teachers want to know when they feel their child is being challenged too much, or not enough,” says Coughlan. “They know their child best.”

By Time or By Assignment?

TIP SHEET #11: By Time or By Assignment?

Knowing how to use time wisely is a life-long set of skills that carry over to work, home life and school, of course. Homework and studying can be done two different ways: by setting aside a specific amount of uninterrupted time to study, or by completing specific assignments or tasks. The idea is to use your time wisely and not allow homework and studying to drag on all night. Teens don’t need to spend all evening doing homework unless they are in a very difficult honors curriculum.

By Time or By Assignment

Which works best for you –

  • finishing a specific job, topic or project, or
  • using a specific amount of uninterrupted time to study and do homework?

Here’s an example:

I have to clean my messy house because friends are coming over for dinner. To motivate myself, I can:

1. spend a specific period of uninterrupted time cleaning my house so I know when I’ll be done with the chores and they won’t drag on all day, or

2. I can do specific tasks (dust furniture, clean the bathroom, clean the kitchen) for that feeling of accomplishment, relief and pride. We all want to feel a sense of accomplishment in the things we do.

Think about what technique of time management would work for you best in the evenings for homework.

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How to Make a ‘Plan’ Together

TIP SHEET #10: How to Make a ‘Plan’ Together

Plan a time to brainstorm ideas about school. Don’t just spring this plan idea on your teen but make a date to talk when you’re both relaxed. Ask your teen the questions below and write down her answers together. Sit at the kitchen or dining room table where you’re both comfortable and can have a business-like conversation. Try to keep emotion out of it, and look for behaviors to start up or eliminate in order to make high school more successful.

  • What do you think are reasonable grades to earn at the quarter? At the semester?
  • What time of day or evening is your best and most productive time?
  • What time do you want to be finished with everything at night?
  • Do you have all the school supplies that you need?
  • What can I do to support you in school, as your mom/dad?
  • Do you (the student) need to talk with the teacher? If so, do it tomorrow and bring back suggestions for improvement to me tomorrow afternoon so we can work on it together.

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