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How to help your child become a summa cum laude graduate

how to help your child become a summa cum laude graduate
how to help your child become a summa cum laude graduate
Photos by Professor Metze

Every good parent wants academic success for their child. No loving parent says,"I want my child to fail." This list is a blue print for academic success. The first and most important job for a parent is to select the best possible school for your child. The second is never miss a PTA meeting.

From kindergarten to grad school graduation is 20 years. However, the first step to reach higher education begins in kindergarten. It is hard to believe but it is true many children are programmed to fail starting in their very first year of school.

The myth that simply dropping a child off at school will guarantee their success in school is one of the greatest causes for academic failure. Barnard Elementary School in Petworth has a slogan that says, "A school is as good as the community that keeps it."

The slogan means it is community involvement that makes a school a success.

The next secret to success is taking your child to the public library. This task does not entail driving up to a library , dropping your child at the door and saying, "Go get smart!" Wrong. Park the car. You have to go into the library with your child. You have to select books for your child. You have to sit down with your child. Read with your child or watch your child read.

Next, parents must get to know their child's teacher. Ask the teacher what you can do to help your child learn. There is a window of learning when a child is small, the period when the child wants to know why the sky is blue. Please do not say to your child, "Stop asking me those stupid questions." Go home and Google, "Why is the sky blue?" then explain it to your child. No good parent or teacher calls a student stupid or thick. These are code words that are designed to destroy a student.

When your child's report card comes out do not use the occasion to exercise your skills at swinging a belt. Any adult can swing a belt. It will not turn your child into Dr. Ben Carson. His mother made him do book reports even though she could not read!

Schools need help educating your child. The teachers, no matter how good or educated,can not educate your child alone. The teacher needs your help. It is a partnership between parent and teacher.

Remember a teacher has ideally 15 students in a class. In bad economic times that number could grow to 30 to 35 students to a single teacher. It does not matter how good or dedicated the teacher may be no human being can educate 35 students to one teacher without help from the parents.

The first and most difficult decision will be the selection of your child's first K/1 teacher. Of all the advice given to parents over a 30 year career none is more important than select the right K/1 teacher. The decision in 1993 to select Mrs. Linda Lacot as that first teacher proved to be one of the keys to the academic success that the present writer's son had in the years leading to his summa cum laude graduation.

The next advice is to monitor your child's progress. At the first sign that your child is struggling; Get help! Help in the form of the Sylvan Learning Center or C-2 Educational Centers or one of the same type of centers in your area is the best place to start. The purpose here is to reinforce what your child is doing in school. The summer that was used to reinforce the work done at St. Charles School was a major turning point in not only our child's mastery of the subject area but also provided unique testing that gauged exactly where he ranked with other children his age.

Mrs. Lacot was a great K/1 teacher in 1993. She was also a great 8th grade teacher in 2001. Her knowledge of the educational progress of the children in her class over an eight year period was also vital to the success of the children. "My philosophy has always been that if I could be an influence in just one child's success in life then my work as a teacher would be justified," Lacot said.

Dr. Collie Coleman, who hired the present writer as a professor in 1986, said in an interview with Joyce Epps on the New Horizon television program, "In education the real key to learning is the teacher and the student on a log." Dr. Coleman was the academic dean at Allen University in 1986. He was also president of the college. Since Allen University was not accredited in 1986, Coleman was not under any association guidelines. His concern for student learning was based on his sincere desire to save his students from failure.

The goal of every educator should be to save their students from failure. Mrs. Linda Lacot retired in June of 2013 after a quarter of a century of fighting to save her students from failure. Her retirement is very difficult because her passion to help her students is still strong. Yet every teacher and educator must face the day when it is time to go.

The present writer made the decision to turn down an offer to return to his Dean of Students office on March 2012 when the job was offered to him. It was based on the same reason that Mrs. Lacot decided to walk away from her post. Three surgeries, and a year of physical therapy had repaired the damage from the melee that injured him in 2007, but no amount of money could put him that situation again. It was time to go.

Professor Metze served as a Dean of Students at Ruth K. Webb Elementary School, Johnson Junior High School, and Moore High School. He was a college professor from 1984 until he retired in 2006. He is a member of the American Association of Retired Persons.

He has counseled with thousands and thousands of parents and students about education. His son, Charles Metze III, graduated from Howard University in 2011 summa cum laude and successfully defended his Master's Degree thesis on April 19, 2013 and graduated with the Master's Degree in Fine Arts from Howard University on May 14, 2013.

Professor Metze taught 5,000 college students at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Allen University, Howard University, the University of Maryland at College Park, and IJLJB University. He is a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and a South Carolina Graduate Incentive Scholar. He has written four books. You can reach him at

Petworth Community Support
Petworth Community Support Photos by Professor Metze

Petworth Community Support

Community support is vital in helping our children to succeed. Here Petworth neighbors join together to support the success of a Petworth resident and graduate summa cum laude.

The Cat in the Hat helped to teach reading
The Cat in the Hat helped to teach reading Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images

The Cat in the Hat helped to teach reading

Taking a child to the library will help with academic success. The books by Dr. Seuss are a key to reading. The book A Cat in the House should be one of the first books a child reads

Great teachers need help to teach children
Great teachers need help to teach children Photos by Professor Metze

Great teachers need help to teach children

Jeffrey Hendrix was a great teacher. He gave his life to his students. He is an example of the importance of the student teacher relationship. He also serves as a role model of what good teacher represents.


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