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Parents Association (FA PA) Meeting Minutes

All parents are welcome to join our monthly FA PA Meetings. Click Read More for meeting minutes and notes.
2020-21 FA PA Meeting Minutes

• November 2, 2020

The Parents Association welcomed School Counselor Carol DiFalco to the meeting. Ms. DiFalco discussed some of the issues that parents are facing with their students in the “new normal.” She said, “With teens and pre-teens, you are entering a stage of being a coach rather than being a manager.”  She provided the following tips for managing stress:

Isolation is a growing factor:
Everyone is feeling anxious, stressed, uncertain. Your kids want reassurance, to know that everything is okay. Create your own open dialogue. Ask more tailored questions. Instead of how was school, ask who did you enjoy hanging out with at lunch today? Be more conversational.
 
Getting more physical activity: Seek ways to create movement. As the owner of your body, you are responsible for keeping it healthy. Try to get short walks in. Dance for a few minutes. Play a pick-up game of basketball – even if it’s with wastebaskets.
 
Limiting screen time when all students are using screens more for academics: Make it a rule that there are no cell phones in the bedrooms. Have a central docking station where all phones must be placed by a certain time of night. Create two hours a day (they don’t have to be consecutive) to have screen-free time.

• October 5, 2020

Allyson Manchester spoke to the group about Early College Considerations. She said if you can get into a conversation with your student about college, there are two starting points to help students begin to figure out what they want: figure out preferences for the size of the institution (small doesn’t mean the size of FA; it’s generally 2,000), and location i.e. where do you want to live (country, city, this country, out of country). Then consider the student’s academic profile: grades, standardized scores (PSAT, SAT), and the acceptance rate of the colleges you’re looking at.

With COVID, there are pretty much no campus visits on the horizon. So do your research online. A good site to check out is campasreel.org, which offers student-produced videos about student life at many colleges. 

Next, you must consider the price tag. It’s a really big and scary number, so you need to have a family conversation early in the process about what’s affordable for you. Have your eyes wide open about finance. The most important number is the net price for your family, which is much lower. Figure out which schools offer the most money using https://myintuition.org/quick-college-cost-estimator/ and the Net Price Calculator https://professionals.collegeboard.org/higher-ed/financial-aid/netprice Incidentally, the schools that generally offer the most aid are the ones with the lowest acceptance percentage.

How is GPA translated at FA? 
Falmouth Academy does not calculate GPA or class rank. We do send a transcript and a narrative that shows the rigor of the curriculum and that all classes are taught at an honors level or above. Also we have a lot of admissions counselors who have visited over the years and understand what kind of school Falmouth Academy is.

How can you do better on SATs? 
Practice, practice, practice. There are 10 practice tests in the big SAT book, which is on the reading list for juniors. Take them all. There are also free practice tests on KahnAcademy.org that let you focus on your weaker issues.

Are there any recommended scholarship sites?
Ms. Manchester has a database of local scholarships that she shares each year.

The next Parents Association meeting is Monday, November 2 at 7 PM. The featured speaker will be counselor Carol DiFalco, who will talk about communicating with teenagers.
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