MAUMELLE, Arkansas — Students in central Arkansas wrapped up their first week of school Friday, but with a new school year comes stress.
At Maumelle High School, Assistant Principal Laconya Isaac said the Pulaski County Special School District is getting more involved with students with new programs: AVID and PBIS.
“PBIS, Positive Behavior Intervention Support, and that is a way to teach children what it is supposed to be like to behave the way we expect them to in an educational environment," Isaac said.
High school is a stressful place and Isaac said the district wants to make sure students feel comfortable walking the hallways.
"We're not trying to be their best friend, but at the same time, we do want to continue to guide them and nurture them and be there for them so that we can notice if there is something going on, we can be there to help," she said.
Isaac said parents and teachers need to be on the lookout for signs of anxiety and stress. She said lethargic behavior or a change in friends could be a sign there's something going on. Less interest in classwork is another warning sign to watch out for.
"I would say if that is not the normal behavior of that student, then we want to start checking on things and getting a little more active," Isaac said.
Isaac said parents also need to step in and starting talking to their kids more often.
"Especially at the high school level it is way more important for parents to be more involved instead of be hands off because this is the time the teenage years, they're still trying to find themselves," Isaac said. "This our last opportunity, parents and school, to get them ready for life past 18.”
Parents should also stay on top of their child's social media. She recommends checking their pages at least once a week.
"The peer pressure for students is way different. When we were younger, it was right in our face. We were all verbal. We were face to face with it. There's a whole lot more peer pressure behind the scenes," Issac said. "So, I still think there's the peer pressure to keep up with what we're wearing and who our friends are, that hasn't changed, but because of social media it's been elevated."
Isaac said teachers at Maumelle High School have also gone through training to help identify signs that a student may be struggling.