The Family and School – Before the School Bell Rings
If you are the first family, you need to do some preparation for school even before your student arrives. You should find out who the counselor will be for your student and arrange for a block of time when you can bring the student to school to review his/her current academic standing and to plan the classes for the coming term. If you think that your student will have difficulty speaking English, you might also arrange to have someone speaks his/her language there as an interpreter. For example, if your student speaks either Spanish or Portuguese, you might be able to use the Spanish teacher at the school. You might even have to search your community for someone who is at least partially fluent in your student’s language and ask if they can help you. If at all possible, have the Club’s YEO along to make sure he remains the point of contact for the school. After all, the student will move to another host family and may "forget" to change "guardians."
Remember to take the Certificate of Immunization Status form to the school at time of enrollment or you may not be able to enroll the student.
Our systems of high school are almost universally unlike what exchange students will have encountered in their school at home. We seem to be respectively unique in having the teachers stay put and the students roam around from class to class. Most everywhere else, this is done the other way around. To get your student prepared for this new and different procedure, we suggest you have a "walk-through" set up for your student to go through after receiving their class assignments. The guide could be a host sibling or school assigned guide or maybe a friend of the family if you don’t have kids in that school. A good walk-through should start at the beginning of the day, from the place that the student will arrive on campus, and go to all places the student will have to go. It should include going to and opening the locker, each class in succession, the restrooms, and lunchroom or eating area. The guide might also show how to get to the office/counseling area so the student will know where to go to discuss problems in a particular class or with scheduling. We have heard many stories of first-day confusion, lockers that wouldn’t open, classes that couldn’t be found and other problems that might have been avoided with a walk-through.
The First School Days
Note that the first school days will be quickly followed by District 5050’s Fall Orientation in September.  This mandatory meeting may help your student get over those opening day jitters and fears. This weekend orientation accomplishes many goals, including allowing the inbound students to get acquainted with each other, having fun, and letting the kids know that any problems they have, others also have  They are also encouraged to have confidence that they can all succeed.
Monitoring Your Student’s School Performance
Because school here often doesn’t demand as much performance or achievement by the students as at home, it is easy for them to become bored with school and then mentally or physically checkout. If that happens, and if it becomes a habit before it is detected, your student will have problems, and he/she will probably end up going home early. Rotary wants students to follow the school requirements of the program, attend all classes faithfully, and achieve all that is possible scholastically. As a host parent, you support these goals  by keeping in touch with how your student is progressing in school.  The student’s Counselor and YEO also keep abreast of this information.  Often the school provides a student-specific webpage link to keep you informed.
Rotary encourages host parents and Counselors to speak with the  student’s teachers shortly after school has begun to see how the student is doing in each class and to find out if there are any problems to be addressed. Each teacher should be informed that this is an exchange student, and that s/he is willing to undertake the extra effort that might be required to improve performance in the teacher’s class. If not, it might be better to have your student moved to another class where the teacher has time to provide the student with extra support. Not all students require more effort in all of their classes, but some students do in at least some of their classes. North American or Canadian History is good example of classes where teacher cooperation is needed in order to achieve success, because exchange students have neither the background expected of the U.S. or Canadian students, nor the vocabulary necessary to really understand the text. Having once made contact with the teachers, you will find it easy to follow up occasionally and assure yourself that your student is doing well in class and attending school regularly.
A school open house is another good time to see how things are going for your student. Visit with the teachers and the counselors and administrators and make sure you really know how things are going in school. If there are any issues, you, the Counselor and the YEO can request a special grade report from the school. For this, the teachers issue interim grades and attendance information as of that time, and the school will send the report to the requesting party. You, the Counselor and the YEO may also send emails to each teacher requesting periodic updates. In a few instances where there have been real difficulties at school, the exchange student’s hosts have received weekly reports until the problems have been resolved. The Counselor, YEO and the teachers involved will appreciate knowing that there is a team of people who care about the student and are working on correcting the problems.
If you are unfortunate enough to receive an attendance or scholastic deficiency notice from the school, don’t hesitate. Act immediately, talk to your student, to the YEO and to the Counselor. Get to the bottom of the problem and see that it is resolved. Consider this a warning that the student may be getting into other problems as well, and that only prompt action may be able to save this exchange. Remember that if your student has to be sent home due to problems, the exchange program in your community could be in jeopardy for the next several years.
Grade reports will normally be sent to the student’s YEO who will share them with the host family. When you get grade reports, review them carefully and congratulate your student for successes, and counsel your student where he needs to improve. Take careful note of any stated absences, and make sure they fit your own knowledge of attendance. Discuss any issues with the YEO and Counselor.