Showing posts with label Academics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Academics. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 13

EVENTFUL: Transitioning from Junior High to High School

High school is an important time in a young person’s educational and social growth. Choosing a high school can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Fairmont Private Schools has taken the liberty of compiling an evaluation checklist for families looking for the best private school.

After curating a list of schools that interest you and your junior high student, set-up an appointment with a school's’ admissions director. An in-person meeting not only provides you with a friendly face to answer your questions, but also gives you and your student an opportunity to peruse the campus. Take in the physical attributes of campus, as well as the overall atmosphere. Be on the lookout for modern technologies included in classrooms, current and well-maintained textbooks, and that classrooms are welcoming and organized. Also, make sure that the facilities on campus are safe and sufficient for your student’s needs and interests.

While on campus or while researching a particular school, take some time to investigate the type of learning community. Are teachers well-qualified and engaging with students in the classroom? Were the administrators welcoming and knowledgeable during your campus visit? Did the students seem well-mannered and enthusiastic? Observe carefully the people associated with the school while touring, as well as any background information found on the school’s website or social media platforms. This will help you and your student determine whether a school’s social and learning environment is right for your incoming freshman.

One of the most important factors when choosing a high school is the quality of the education offered. Investigate and compare the rigor of curriculums and specialty or advanced courses offered. Does the school offer classes for college credit? Do they offer enough Advanced Placement courses for your student? Encourage your student to look over the course catalogue to see which school offers the most interesting electives and programs (e.g. foreign language, art, computer science, etc.). Decide on the importance of technology in the classroom and determine which schools are the most tech-savvy. Another large question to ask while talking with an admissions director is what percentage of graduates are accepted to the top 100 colleges and universities?

Extracurricular experiences help students grow and discover specific interests or talents. Compare and contrast extracurricular opportunities between schools. Determine your student’s social priorities (e.g. does he or she care most about athletics? Is he or she very service-oriented or interested in student government?, etc.) and let them see what most excites them.     

Remember to ask lots of questions when visiting a new school, and encourage your junior high student to do the same! But to take the guesswork out of searching for a premier southern California private high school, schedule a tour or attend an upcoming Open House event at Fairmont Preparatory Academy!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, July 20

CHALK TALK: introducing preschoolers to technology

These days, it’s easy to think of children as natural digital citizens. Take a look around and you will likely see kids of all ages masterfully using a smartphone or tablet on their own. However, children, especially those enrolled in preschool through early elementary school, need parental guidance to make sure they are using technology safely and that is not keeping them away from other beneficial activities.

Parents can help their little ones embrace digital technology as an effective learning tool without getting too caught up in non-educational gaming and passive viewing. Here, Dr. Rebecca Osborne, Technology-Enhanced Curriculum Specialist for Fairmont Private Schools, explains how to properly introduce tablets, smartphones, and other devices to young children.

What can parents do to foster technology skills in their preschooler, particularly in the areas of smartphones, tablets, and laptops?

It is important for students to be multi-literate.  Introduce your young children not only to tablets and smartphones, but also to laptops.  Teach them keyboard skills, not just “texting” or typing on the tablet using the small touchscreen. offers tools for developing typing skills.  Parents should also foster an understanding of when technology is useful, and when it is a distraction.  Writing with pen and pencil should not be replaced by technology.  There should be a balance between digital and “analog” activities.  There are also many toys that mimic the effects of touchscreen devices without being connected to the internet. 

How can parents ensure their young children use technology appropriately?

Preschoolers should always be given a minimal amount of screen time – no more than two hours per day.  Monitoring the child’s screen time activities, as well as using parental controls and restrictions help ensure proper use of technology.  I recommend the following educational apps – “AlphaTots,” “Doodle Critter,” “Elmo Loves ABCs,” “Elmo Loves 124s,” and “Peg + Cat,” which are interactive, educational, and fun. Passive screen time, like watching videos, should be kept to a minimum, but PBS Kids is a good place to start for educational videos.

What can parents do to foster an early respect for good digital citizenship?

Set an example of good digital citizenship for your children by joining them in using technology at home in both educational and recreational settings.  Parents should discuss the content that their child is accessing and talk about safe and unsafe usage of electronic devices.  Again, parents should closely monitor their child’s technology-related activities.

Make sure your preschooler balances screen time with toys, unstructured play, books, and friends. Don’t forget the wonders of Play-Doh, coloring, puzzles, and other toys, which still play an important role in a child’s well-rounded development. Outdoor physical activities are equally important for a child.

Playing outside is vital for growing in confidence, fostering social skills, gaining appreciation for nature, understanding rules and authority, and mastering physical and fine motor skills. A healthy blend of technology with play and traditional learning goes a long way in building a strong foundation for achieving academic and personal success in elementary school and later grades.

See HOW TO: managing a child’s screen time, A to Z: teaching children to be good digital citizens, and NEW AND NOTEWORTHY P-8 educational apps recommendations for more ideas and suggestions to help ensure safe and rewarding screen time engagement for your child.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools 
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Monday, July 6

FAIRMONT FIVE introducing young children to the wonders of nature

Summer break offers excellent opportunities to be outdoors, whether it’s visiting the beach, mountains, deserts, or even your backyard. Breathing fresh air, getting exercise, satisfying curiosity, and feeling a warm breeze on your face are a few of the many joys of exploring the wonders of nature.

Under the caring guidance of parents, young children can gain an amazing perspective of the world around them, from engaging in a backyard safari to spending a week at a national park. We live on a beautiful planet, and it’s worth exploring!

Here are five simple steps for parents to expand their children’s appreciation for nature:

Ecosystem outside your back door— A patch of weeds, flower garden, a green belt, and community park yield an abundance of tiny discoveries for young explorers. Children can record their observations by drawing pictures. Here’s an opportunity to teach the importance of examining and appreciating plants and bugs only with their eyes and not with their hands.

Digging in the dirt – For a small child, a small hole in the back yard is a portal to an amazing journey where imagination and science intertwine. Pick out a spot where your child can use a kid-appropriate shovel and bucket to find worms, bugs, rocks, plant roots, and more. To enhance the experience, plant some plastic dinosaurs to recreate a paleontological dig!

Exploring with your ears – Encourage your child to sit quietly on a bench. After a few minutes, your little one will easily pick up bird songs and the sound of wind blowing through the trees. The child can pretend to be a creature silently hiding.  This will engage their imagination while experiencing the simplistic beauty of the natural world.  This activity definitely fosters the value of patience and reinforces the discipline of learning to sit quietly and listen attentively.

Nature scavenger hunt – This is a fun way for children to pay attention to their surroundings, as well as seasons of the year. While in the yard or on a short hike, children can pick-up leaves, seashells, and small rocks as a reminder of the places they explored. Each item can be linked to a story in pictures about the outdoor experience. (Please note public park rules in regards to collecting items.)

Let’s talk about it – Discuss the experience of being outdoors with your child. Parents can follow-up with questions and observations to determine the child’s favorite part of being outdoors and what they would like to do on their next adventure in nature.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by Extension

Monday, June 8


 STEM is a new buzz word in the education field. But what exactly is it? Simply defined, STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM Education Coalition states that incorporating a STEM-based curriculum is critical if the United States wants to remain a global economic and technological leader.

The goal of this education initiative is to create a STEM-based curriculum for all students. However, Fairmont Private Schools is proactive in providing students with a STEM-rich curriculum. Fairmont currently boasts robust, competitive robotics clubs at the junior high and high school levels, as well as advanced mathematics programs, and the Advanced Science and Engineering Program (ASEP) for high school students. A total of 24 awards were earned by Fairmont junior high students at the 2014 Orange County Science and Engineering Fair. Fairmont students are also introduced to technology in the classroom, working with iPads and Interactive Whiteboards from preschool through high school.

Despite the national push for more technical training required for STEM-related jobs, it is important to maintain a balance between study of the humanities and study of the technological fields. During the 2011 release of a next generation iPad, Steve Jobs explained that “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.” Fairmont believes that both liberal arts and STEM focuses are important, thus, Fairmont students are enriched with opportunities to learn musical instruments, participate in theater productions, read classical literature, create wonderful works of art, and engage with curriculum that examines history, sociology, and more! 
After graduating from Fairmont Preparatory Academy, 87% of Fairmont seniors are accepted to US News & World Report’s list of top 100 American colleges and universities, many entering the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These successful outcomes result from a well-balanced education that enable students to flourish academically and artistically.    
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by Teacher Reboot Camp

Monday, June 1

A to Z: in support of the student athlete

In the pursuit of academic success, children sometimes need a break from the classroom and an opportunity to release pent-up energy. While academic success is no small feat, students who participate in at least one extracurricular physical activity are proven to reap more benefits than those who do not exercise regularly.

Engaging in sports activities each week helps improve students’ focus on school work, as well as help them lead happier, healthier lives. Here are four reasons why students should be involved in structured, after-school physical activities.

  1. Academic Performance - Studies show that students involved in athletic programs maintain a higher GPA and achieve higher test scores. provides a list of recent studies proving the correlation between academic success and physical fitness.
  2. Fitness Habits - Sports help students develop coordination and teaches them how to care for their bodies through proper stretching and the development of fundamental mechanics. Participating in athletics at an early age instills physical fitness habits that carry over into adulthood, helping to avoid health problems.
  3. Mental and Emotional Benefits - Athletics have great physical benefits, but also help children to improve mentally and emotionally. While the body exercises, the brain releases endorphines. From a biological standpoint alone, students who are physically active are happier and have a constructive outlet through which to relieve stress.
  4. Development of Specific Skills - Through athletics, students are able to accumulate a whole host of skills and abilities. Leadership, teamwork, confidence, and self-reliance are the big character focuses. Critical thinking is developed on the playing field as athletes need to quickly solve problems created by their opponents. Time management, a skill necessary in adulthood, is also brought into play as children learn to balance their time between schoolwork, sports, and family life.

Even if your child is not interested in team sports, there are plenty of less intense, solitary options. Activities such as swimming, gymnastics, track, martial arts, yoga, and golf provide physical benefits and allow students to engage in an extracurricular activity where they can advance at their own pace.

For more student athlete information, as well as great drills and exercises, visit the Fairmont Pinterest board Student Athletes!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by Popsugar