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'Do your homework': From the tried-and-true to the less obvious, Northland kids and school staff share back-to-school tips

Incoming freshmen at Duluth East High School attend Hound Pack events Wednesday, Aug. 31, where seniors and juniors orient them to their new school. The class was divided into groups, and each group dressed up in costumes. This one dressed up as crayons as they walked the halls to find their lockers. (Bob King / Forum News Service)1 / 5
Incoming Duluth East High School freshmen Giovani Saldivar and Cursta Dimberio each write down a special memory in a team building exercise at the school Wednesday, Aug. 30. (Bob King / Forum News Service)2 / 5
Lily Betros, an incoming freshman at Duluth East High School, thinks hard before making her move in a game called 64 Squares. She and the other freshmen in her group (background) have to work together to figure how the correct sheets of paper to step on to walk from one end of the grid to the other. (Bob King / Forum News Service)3 / 5
Incoming kindergartner William Caveny, 5, interacts with Jill Ellison, who will be his teacher, during a recent barbecue for incoming students and their families at Duluth's North Star Academy. (Steve Kuchera / Forum News Service)4 / 5
Duluth North Star Academy music teacher Aundrea Kinziger introduces incoming kindergartener Nora Johnson, 4, to school mascot Eddie Eagle during a recent back-to-school barbecue. (Steve Kuchera / Forum News Service)5 / 5

DULUTH — Heading back to class can be nerve-wracking for kids of any age. As much of the Northland returns to school this week,Forum News Service gathered tips from students and school leaders on how to ease the transition and settle into a new year. From taking "movement breaks" when you need them, going to class regularly and setting up routines for homework, students and school staff had a lot to say.

For school newbies

Lola Prado, Lowell Elementary, grade 1:

• "Do not bite. Just do kindness."

Sean Campbell-Rorvick, Lowell Elementary, grade 1:

• "Keep your hands to yourself. Always respect someone when they are talking."

Najib Liassou, Lowell Elementary, grade 1:

• "Bring healthy food and listen to your teacher, but most people know that."

For elementary school kids

Amaria Williams, Lincoln Park Middle School, grade 6:

• "Be respectful to teachers. Do your homework; you will have to get used to it in middle school."

Evan LaPlante, Lincoln Park Middle School, grade 6:

• "Try your hardest."

Benny Respler, Lincoln Park Middle School, grade 6:

• "Don't worry; lots of kids will be really nervous."

For middle-schoolers

Heather Strom, Lincoln Park Middle School, grade 8:

• "Get help with your locker." (It's not as easy as it looks, she said.)

Lily Housey, Lincoln Park Middle School, grade 8:

• "Find out where your classes are ahead of time. I remember getting lost. So I showed (sixth graders during orientation) exactly where their classes are. Bring your planner to every single class."

Keia Snodgrass, Lincoln Park Middle School, grade 8:

• "Get your homework done on time. I would fall behind and get behind in class, and struggle to catch up. Have the mentality that you want to get things done."

For high school students

Benjamin Emmel, Denfeld High School, grade 12:

• "Asking questions is one of the most important things to do. Ask when you're confused, or when you're curious about an organization, sports team, or club. Teachers and staff are there to help students in any way they can."

Emily Scinocca, East High School, grade 12

• "Don't be afraid to stray away from your friends ... eventually there will be classes you don't have with your friends, and you won't be able to rely on them once you graduate."

Isabelle Schomberg, East High School, grade 12:

• "Don't be super-worried about what other people think of you. It does not matter."

Ani Milbur, East High School, grade 11:

• "Be open to everything. If you're coming in with friends, open yourself up and make friends with everyone."

Andrea Peller, East High School, grade 12:

• "Find one or two clubs that you wouldn't normally try in middle school. Try something new. But don't be afraid to leave that later and try something else."

Danette Seboe, East High School principal:

• "Don't hesitate to reach out to a teacher, coach, school counselor, staff member or administrator if you're struggling. Even if that person isn't sure how to help you, they'll make sure to connect you with someone who can."

• "Turning work in on time is also very important, but if something happens, check the syllabus to learn about late-work policies. Sometimes things can be turned in late for partial credit. Partial is better than no credit every time."

For parents

Nathan Glockle, Stowe Elementary principal:

• "Have kindergarten students wear shoes that don't need to be tied, or make sure they can tie their shoes."

• "Have all students memorize their numbers for school lunch so they can punch them in quickly in the lunch line."

• "Make sure kids get plenty of sleep. No phones in their rooms when they go to bed."

Kerry Juntunen, Hermantown school district superintendent:

• "Middle school can be some of the most difficult times in a student's life. There is a certain awkwardness, pulling away from parents and projecting oneself into the light of social acceptance that sometimes leads to risky behaviors. There are a couple of really great books that I think all middle-school parents should read. One is 'Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf' by Jennifer L. Holm, and the other is 'Queen Bees and Wannabes' by Rosalind Wiseman. Each is important in its own way, but both point to the fact that these early adolescent years are both trying and rewarding when parents sift the temporary from the permanent. I'd often tell parents who were stressed out by their middle-schoolers behavior that 'they're going to be OK — we just have to get them to OK.' "

North Star Academy instructional leadership team:

• Read to your kids, from when they are born on.

• Have an established time and place for kids to study and put school supplies.

• It helps teachers when forms are turned in promptly and information is updated.

Crystal Goldman, Lowell Spanish immersion teacher:

• "Talk a lot about how exciting school is and making sure there is time at the end of the day as a family to decompress and just play. The beginning of the school year is a lot. It's a change in routine from our flexible summers."