• Speech Bubble with "Seven Things to Ponder as the School Year Beckons" written inside of it

    Seven Things to Ponder as the School Year Beckons


    Dear San Mateo Union High School District Families:


    The 2018-2019 school year is almost upon us! I hope your student is so excited for the coming year they can hardly stand it! Like you, many staff members are enjoying a final few days before they welcome your student on Wednesday, August 15.


    Here are seven topics you may want to consider and, in many cases, discuss with your student to help them make the most of this year:


    1. Where is your student going to eat lunch and with whom? Lunch can be one of the scariest times, especially for ninth graders and students who transfer into our schools. Many of our schools have “you can eat with me” campaigns that encourage a sense of inclusion and community. When my kids were young, I bribed them with a reward to invite a kid to eat with them or to abandon a lunch table that turned toxic. We do strange things for our kids!


    2. How will your student travel to and from school? We have plenty of bike racks, we strongly encourage carpooling, and our communities have created safe routes to our campus. The fewer drivers around our schools, the safer, so have your student take the bus or organize a carpool. But what’s better than walking or biking to school to activate the mind and body?


    3. What about a sport, a club, or student activities in the fall? Students thrive when they are part of a “tribe” at school. Many sports are already practicing, or will be soon. Check out information on your school’s website.


    4. How will your family support learning? Is there time at home to discuss the topics in classes? I’m sure that every day your high school student can share one thing you don’t know. And since many high school students think they know everything, here’s a chance for them to share their knowledge!


    5. If your student is a junior or senior, are they ready to take a college class in lieu of or in addition to their regular high school courses? Skyline College in San Bruno is offering Gateway to Health Careers at Mills High School on Monday evenings from 6-9 p.m. This class is open to ALL SMUHSD students. This is a free course, and students have the potential to earn three college units and high school credit. Learn more about registering. We will offer indoor soccer at San Mateo High School Monday evenings from 6-7:15 p.m. and will announce the start date soon. Students can also take a class at College of San Mateo or Skyline College in the afternoon after taking a minimum course load on their high school campus. For more information, communicate with your student’s counselor.


    6. How will you handle phones and computer access at night? It is amazing how much time social media can consume and how being on the computer or phone can have a negative impact on sleep. Perhaps just as importantly, how will you, as the adult, model appropriate night time access to electronic media?


    7. Finally, is your student’s launch into the school year an opportunity for you to explore a new career – with our district? We are always looking for talented people to work in a great environment. View a list of opportunities, including part-time and substitute positions on our website.



    It is a privilege to partner with families during the four most formative years in a young person’s life. Here’s to a thoughtful and productive year.




    Kevin Skelly, Ph.D.