Career Path High
Keys to Success

Keys to Success

Helping your Teen Succeed

Teens are at a unique stage; they crave independence, but in many ways, they still rely on their parents and caregivers for many of life's necessities. Although teens may seem like they can manage high school on their own, there are still many things that they need from their parents and support system in order to be successful. 

Students rarely begin struggling overnight. It is the small things that  largest impact on a student’s performance. “Most failing students do not drop out of high school immediately, but they may lose confidence and develop poor habits that make it difficult to recover. The “one-size-fits-all” model for the transition to high school is not working for many students (Cohen and Smerdon 2009).”

Here is the encouraging truth: parents can work with their students to prepare and support them during this critical time in their lives.


Making time to connect with your student everyday will have a positive impact on your relationship and provide them with meaningful support.
Connecting is about taking a set aside time to focus on your teen, who they are, what they are experiencing and what they need. Connecting with your teen doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money; in fact, some of the most meaningful connections can happen on the way somewhere, eating a meal together, folding laundry, or lounging around.
The key to connecting with teens is to listen more and talk less. Teens ultimately want to feel heard and understood, not to be talked at. Asking the right questions can help start your conversations off on the right foot. 

Here are some great questions to start off with:
  • How do you feel about how your day went? Why?
  • What was the funniest thing that you saw today?
  • Who did you talk with today?
  • Which class do you think you are doing the best in? Why?
  • What part of the day do you look forward to?
  • What did you do during lunch today?

Make Attendance a Priority

Students have a harder time learning and engaging in their classrooms if they are not present. In my experience, a pattern of poor attendance usually starts off small but can have the potential to lead to much larger issues. 

Students who frequently miss class and often struggle making connections between concepts and ideas. As a result, they perform lower on exams and lose their confidence in their ability to succeed in their coursework. Students and may end up failing courses and lose credit.

If possible, try scheduling appointments around school hours or when they would be least disruptive. Also, avoid taking vacations when classes are in session.

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

Teens are still growing and developing; as a result, they often need more sleep than we realize. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teens sleep 8-10 hours a day.

Here are a few ideas to support better sleep habits for your teen.

  • Check in or Shut Down Devices - I can’t tell you how many students tell me that they didn’t sleep the night before because they were chatting with a friend, playing a game, or watching a show. Having your teen charge their devices over night in your room or another location of the home will help create a better environment for your teen to sleep. Also, there are many settings on your phone and apps allow for parental controls that lock the phone during specified hours.
  • Exercise - It is hard to sleep when you still have energy, and many of our teens find themselves pretty energized in the evening hours. Part of this may be that they are not physically active enough during the day. The CDC recommends that teens get sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. There are many ways for teens to be physically active: mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, jogging around the neighborhood, and Davis Tech even has a frisbee golf course.
  • Nutrition -  What we take into our bodies has a profound affect on how they function. Carefully evaluating with your teen what he or she drinks during the day may help you spot things that may be causing sleep issues at night. For example, many parents might be surprised to learn how many 24oz energy drinks or iced coffees their students consume in a given day. The USDA has great resources for understanding teen nutrition on their website.

These are just a few tips that can help you support your teen during their critical high school years. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks.

Mrs. Valerie Jones, Lead Teacher

Mrs. Jones joined Career Path High in 2014 and currently serves as our lead teacher. She has a degree in English Education with a minor in Theatre and Speech Education. Mrs. Jones started her teaching career at Li Ren Kindergarten in Beilun, China in 2008.