Advice for the New School Year

News Tip: Research-Based Advice for the New School Year

Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 — Duke University experts share back-to-school advice for parents on bullying, homework, absenteeism and helping English language learners navigate the start of school.

William Copeland on Bullying

Copeland_Bill_2013Quotes:
“For a lot of kids, the beginning of the school year can be when bullying starts in earnest,” says William Copeland, an associate professor at Duke’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

“It’s important to not think about bullying as a rite of passage. We know that bullying has long-term effects, similar to child mistreatment. If parents notice changes in mood, behaviors and school performance, it is imperative they make sure their child doesn’t stay in a toxic situation.”

“Parents need to be in surveillance mode the first few weeks. The goal for parents is to be keyed in enough so they’re aware of what’s happening, but not create more anxiety for the child. Expect that there is going to be a transition, but monitor behavior and mood.”

Bio: 
William Copeland is an associate professor at Duke’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a faculty fellow of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. He researches how childhood stress affects long-term mental and physical health, in particular the effects of childhood bullying.

For additional comment, contact Copeland at (919) 687-4686 or william.copeland@duke.edu.

Harris Cooper on Homework

Harris M. Cooper Hugo L. Blomquist Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in Trinity College of Arts and SciencesQuotes:
“When it comes to homework, parents can and should be role models and mentors, but over-involvement can be a bad thing,” says Harris Cooper, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke.

“When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it. If homework is meant to be done alone, stay away. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, life-long learning skills. If your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers.”

Bio:
Harris Cooper is Hugo L. Blomquist Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke. He has authored a meta-analysis of studies of summer learning loss and is a noted expert on homework.

For additional comment, contact Cooper at (919) 660-5664 or cooperh@duke.edu.

Amy Schulting on Abesenteeism

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQuotes:
“We know that attendance in the elementary grades predicts student attendance in later grades as well as high school graduation rates,” says Amy Schulting, a research scientist at the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy who studies absenteeism.

“The beginning of the school year really sets the stage for the whole academic year when it comes to student attendance. In our research, we’ve had success using teacher home visiting to foster home-school communication and collaboration. We’ve also learned that, by and large, teachers and parents prefer texting as a way to communicate and that it creates a sense of connection and accountability for parents.”

Bio:
Amy Schulting is a research scientist at the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. She studies truancy prevention efforts in the elementary grades.

For additional comment, contact Schulting at 919-668-5411 or amy.schulting@duke.edu.

Leslie Babinski on English Language Learners

Babinski_Leslie164x179Quotes:
“For parents of English language learners, make sure the school understands how dedicated you are to your child’s success from day one,” says Leslie Babinski, an associate director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy who has studied Latino students who are learning English.

“Parents should be sure to let the school know if they need an interpreter. The ESL teacher and the family liaison are terrific resources for parents. It’s important to get to know the school staff and be an advocate for your child.”

Bio:
Leslie Babinski is an associate director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy and an assistant research professor in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. She has studied how teachers can enhance language and literacy instruction for Latino English learners.

For additional comment, contact Babinski at (919) 613-9296 or leslie.babinski@duke.edu.


Media Contact:
Amy Dominello Braun
(919) 681-8504; amy.d.braun@duke.edu

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Duke experts on a variety of other topics can be found here.

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