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Parents can help kids succeed in school from Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez

Dear Neighbors,

As school begins, whether you have a child just entering kindergarten, Letters-to-the-editor returning to elementary school or transitioning to middle school or high school, the back-to-school “jitters” are known to affect kids and parents alike.
Along with being a Freeholder, I am an educator and a mom.  I know firsthand the excitement and the anxiety that goes along with the transition back to school.   Attending new schools and meeting new teachers and new classmates can often be overwhelming and unnerving for even the most seasoned parents and kids.  As a parent, there are some proactive steps you can take to help you and your child get off to a good start and stay on track throughout the school year.


  • Be interested and excited about the start of school.  Your excitement and interest goes a long way in calming fears and instilling confidence.
  • Encourage your child to become involved with school activities and try new things. Engaging kids in productive and safe activities is not only fun for them but helps them stay on track in school.
  • Help your child develop physically, socially and emotionally.  Good nutrition, a restful night’s sleep, and regular exercise all add up to a healthy lifestyle and a better chance of achieving academic success.
  • And finally, stay involved in your child’s education. Visit your child’s school; attend school events. We know that children whose parents are involved with their education do better in school both socially and academically and are less likely to drop out of school.

I am keenly aware that being a parent in this day and age is a challenging task and that the tough economic times have only made that challenge even more difficult. To lend support to our county’s families, my colleagues and I on the Camden County Board of Freeholders have tried to make that task just a little easier. We created the Camden County Covenant for Children, Youth and Families to ensure that kids and families in Camden County have the resources, services and supports to best help them achieve success.

The Covenant focuses on three primary objectives: Early Childhood Success, Positive Youth Development, and Strong Families and Strong Communities. Working with our lead agency, the Community Advocacy and Planning Council (CPAC), and many of our community partners including the Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey, the Center for Family Services and the United Way of Camden County, we are implementing county-wide strategies to promote family success. I invite you to go to and visit the Covenant for Children, Youth and Families for information that may be helpful to you and your family this new school year.  By working together, we can all achieve an “A+” for our kids, our families, and our community.

Carmen Rodriguez is a member of the Camden County Board of Freeholders and teaches physics and chemistry at Brimm Medical High School in Camden. She is the mother of four.

Carmen Rodriguez
Camden County Freeholder