By Terri Lee Sylvester

DETROIT (WWJ) – As students head back to school, there are some things parents need to know to help their kids get off to a good start. And, who would know better how to prepare students for the school year than award-winning teacher Rhonda Raheem.

In 2011, Raheem won Goodfellow’s Teacher of the Year contest after being nominated by her students. Raheem, a teacher at Detroit’s Mason Elementary-Middle School, runs down a list of what parents need to know before sending their kids back to school.

“Make sure that you are aware of the uniform dress code, talk to your child about proper behavior, make sure that you provide the school supplies that are required, establish an appropriate bed time for your child,” Raheem said. Raheem says parents should also be sure to inform the school office if their children will need to take medication during the school day.


While students prepare to head back to school, teachers are prepping, also! While a third-grade teacher at Carstens Elementary in 2011, Raheem’s students described her as “special” for sharing “lots of fun and love.”

What advice does Raheem have for her fellow teachers on how they can get the most from their students?

“Let the students get involved, do hands-on activities, teach them how to think for themselves,” Raheem said. She also suggested that teachers “let them work in groups so they know how to communicate and respect the skills of others.”

For parents leery of sending their kids to a Detroit Public School, Raheem says, “Students can get an excellent education at DPS schools.”

“We have after-school programs to improve students’ academic goals, we also have technology … we have after-school choir, we have pottery, we have a lot of hands-on activities in the classroom. The kids learn how to work in groups, they learn how to think for themselves and critical thinking ideas.”

Raheem has been a teacher for over 13 years. She attended DPS schools before going on to earn her undergraduate degree at Detroit’s Wayne State University. She obtained her Masters degree from the University of Phoenix and is currently pursuing her PhD.

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