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PrinciPALS Podcast Episode 4.01: Screen Time
Listen below or on Apple Podcasts.

Screens are a necessary tool in today’s world, but they can cause a lot of family anxiety. As parents themselves, Rowland Hall’s princiPALS understand this struggle—and so they’re tackling the topic. Join the pals for a discussion about current guidelines (and why it’s understandable if you can’t always adhere to them), high-quality programming, social media, the importance of balancing screen time and productive play, and how you can get the whole family involved in identifying values and boundaries that will guide screen time in your home.

Podcast resources:

Read the episode transcript.

Parent Education

PrinciPALS Podcast Episode 4.01: Screen Time
Listen below or on Apple Podcasts.

Screens are a necessary tool in today’s world, but they can cause a lot of family anxiety. As parents themselves, Rowland Hall’s princiPALS understand this struggle—and so they’re tackling the topic. Join the pals for a discussion about current guidelines (and why it’s understandable if you can’t always adhere to them), high-quality programming, social media, the importance of balancing screen time and productive play, and how you can get the whole family involved in identifying values and boundaries that will guide screen time in your home.

Podcast resources:

Read the episode transcript.

Parent Education

Explore More Tips for Parents

When choosing a middle school, focus on both on academic excellence and a nurturing atmosphere.

Picking the right middle school for your child is a significant decision that sets the stage for their academic and personal growth in early adolescence and beyond. Middle school is a time when students take on more responsibility for their own learning and begin to recognize and develop their strengths. It’s also a time of tremendous transition, as students bridge childhood and young adulthood. That’s why it’s essential to find a school that focuses both on academic excellence and on nurturing individuality through a holistic learning experience.

Rowland Hall, a top private middle school in Utah, shares the following four key factors to consider when searching for an ideal middle school—one that aligns with your student’s needs and aspirations.

1. Voice and Choice in Course Selection

A student-voice approach not only enhances engagement but also encourages deep learning, as each student takes ownership of their experience.

One crucial aspect of a high-quality middle school is an emphasis on student voice. A school that encourages student agency in their education understands that every child is unique, with distinct learning styles and interests, and so provides room for educational exploration. Furthermore, schools that incorporate authentic learning opportunities such as project-based learning (see below) allow students to explore subjects that resonate with their passions and give them a say in their educational journey. A student-voice approach not only enhances engagement but also encourages deep learning, as each student takes ownership of their experience.

2. Authentic Learning Opportunities

Authentic learning is an educational approach that emphasizes real-world, meaningful, and hands-on experiences to engage students in the learning process. It goes beyond traditional classroom activities and textbooks, aiming to add academic content to practical, relevant, and applicable real-world situations, many of which are designed to mirror or simulate tasks and challenges students may encounter in their personal or professional lives. Whether through field trips, community projects, or partnerships with local organizations, authentic learning fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills. A school that values these real-world applications ensures that students are prepared for the challenges they’ll face outside the classroom.

3. Leadership Opportunities

Middle school is a pivotal time for students to develop leadership skills that will serve them well in the future. Look for schools that provide ample leadership opportunities, whether through student councils, clubs, or other extracurricular activities designed to promote connection with and responsibility for the school community. A school that fosters leadership not only helps students build confidence but also instills a sense of responsibility and teamwork, preparing young learners for challenges beyond the classroom.

4. Close Relationships with Teachers

Strong teacher-student connections make a significant difference in academic performance and emotional well-being.

A nurturing and supportive environment is especially crucial during the transitional middle school years. Pay attention to schools that prioritize building close relationships between students and teachers, as strong teacher-student connections make a significant difference in students’ academic performance and emotional well-being. Look for institutions that encourage open communication, mentorship programs, and a genuine interest in understanding each student’s unique strengths and challenges.


Choosing Rowland Hall Middle School, a Leading Utah Independent Private School

Rowland Hall’s private middle school, conveniently and centrally located in Salt Lake City, Utah, recognizes and honors the significant middle school years. Centered around deep and meaningful relationships, our Middle School holistically supports early adolescent students, with expert teachers guiding them toward academic success and positive personal growth.

If you are interested in exploring our independent middle school for your student, contact our Admission Team to arrange a campus visit. They can answer your questions and connect you with Rowland Hall students or alumni to help you get a sense of school culture, academic expectations, and extracurricular activities. Let us help you assess your student’s needs and determine whether our curriculum and program is the best fit for your family. Inquire here.

Middle School

graphic of hosts of the Principals podcast

Listen below or on Apple Podcasts.

This special episode is about you, our listeners. Join Emma, Brittney, and Conor as they discuss some of your top child-rearing questions: how to get habits and behaviors to stick, how to address distressing current events, how to get kids interested in activities and hobbies, and how to manage sibling rivalry during the elementary years. This warm, supportive conversation will help you feel seen, understood, and even better prepared to support the children in your life.

Read the episode transcript.

Parent Education

PrinciPALS Podcast Episode 4.01: Screen Time
Listen below or on Apple Podcasts.

Screens are a necessary tool in today’s world, but they can cause a lot of family anxiety. As parents themselves, Rowland Hall’s princiPALS understand this struggle—and so they’re tackling the topic. Join the pals for a discussion about current guidelines (and why it’s understandable if you can’t always adhere to them), high-quality programming, social media, the importance of balancing screen time and productive play, and how you can get the whole family involved in identifying values and boundaries that will guide screen time in your home.

Podcast resources:

Read the episode transcript.

Parent Education

Parents walk their children to the first day of school.

By Deborah Wright, Emotional Support Counselor

It’s back-to-school season, and while some children are filled with excitement this time of year, others are anxious.

As a parent or caregiver, it can be difficult to see your preschool or elementary-aged child express anxiety about the start of school. However, back-to-school anxiety is completely normal, and with thoughtful support and guidance, you can prepare your student for a new year and successfully ease them into a new routine.

  • Talk about what to expect in advance. The biggest source of young children’s back-to-school anxiety is being separated from parents or caregivers for a significant portion of the day, so it helps to take time to talk to them about what will happen while you are apart, such as classroom routines, lunch, recess, and other activities they can look forward to. And don’t forget to stress that you will come back for your child when school is out.
  • If your child is worried about social situations, practice interacting with peers. Some children worry about the social aspect of returning to school. You can help them by practicing first-day conversations and introductions, such as, “Hi. I heard you were in my class. How was your summer?” or, “I think we’re in the same class. I’m glad.”
  • Establish a routine and practice it before school starts. Before the first day, take time to walk through a morning routine: have breakfast and gather bags, then drive to school and practice your drop-off and pick-up plans. With your school’s permission, you can even walk the halls ahead of time to get your child familiarized with the building. And be sure to take advantage of any classroom meet-and-greets before the first day.
  • Take your own emotional temperature. Back-to-school season can be stressful for parents and caregivers too. Check in with yourself to make sure you are not passing on your own anxieties to your child. Instead, reach out to a spouse/partner, friend, therapist, or other trusted person to discuss your own worries.
  • Listen actively and don’t dismiss your child’s worries. Be sure to validate your child’s worries and feelings while also showing your confidence in their ability to handle the situation. Keep these conversations short, as overprocessing may increase a child’s feelings of anxiousness. (You and your child may also enjoy reading and discussing these books that help young students manage their worries.)
  • Be prepared for big emotions and distress signals on the first day—and even for the first few weeks. Don’t be surprised if your child complains of physical symptoms, such as a headache or stomachache, on the first day, or even within the first weeks, as children’s anxieties often manifest in their bodies. Remind your child that you are confident in them, revisit what they can expect, and cheer them on as they try hard things.
  • Rely on your community. It’s completely normal for kids’ anxieties around school to come and go. If your child continues to struggle, ask for help in supporting them—reach out to their teacher, or even other parents or a school counselor.

About Deborah Wright
Deborah Wright is the emotional support counselor for Rowland Hall’s McCarthey Campus, which serves students in preschool through fifth grade. As a member of the McCarthey Campus student support team, Deborah’s goal is to support students’ learning and social-emotional growth.

Parent Education

You Belong at Rowland Hall