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Establishing Organizational Skills Helps Scholars Transition Back to School

Getting back into the swing of things for scholars means returning to the ebbs and flows of the school year. One of the most important things scholars can establish early on to ease that transition is good organizational habits.
Heather Kurtz, a third grade teacher at Pinnacle Academy in Euclid, Ohio, has tricks up her sleeve when it comes to helping keep scholars organized. She noted that it’s important for kids to feel in charge of their own learning, even when it comes to organization.
The expectation for scholars is set from the beginning of the school year in Kurtz’s classroom. She has them label their folders and creates a routine of where to put each kind of paper in their desk.
Scholars often get visits from the Desk Fairy, a fable-like character akin to the Tooth Fairy, who checks the insides of desks to make sure they are neat and organized. When a scholar’s desk is in top shape, the Desk Fairy will leave a piece of chocolate.
The Desk Fairy lives in Heather Kurtz’s third-grade classroom, helping scholars at Pinnacle Academy keep their desks tidy and neat.
“The first time or two that she comes around, I will give the class a heads up that she’s coming,” Kurtz said. “The kids are pretty good about helping each other get ready for when the Desk Fairy comes.”
The Desk Fairy often helps with points of struggle, such as keeping papers in the proper folders and locations, and keeping Chromebooks plugged in. When the Desk Fairy sees a desk that might not be as organized, it is still helpful for Kurtz. She will often spend more one-on-one time with scholars whose desk might not be as organized.
Organization is discussed constantly in Kurtz’s classroom, and she said using a fun tool like the Desk Fairy reminds kids to stay on top of their organization. Strategies like this one have helped Pinnacle outperform the local district.
Staying organized doesn’t begin and end in the classroom, though. Families can work together at home to help scholars maintain tidiness.
Routines can be a helpful way to stay organized, whether it’s a time schedule or comfortable settings for scholars to work in.
“Establishing a routine while also allowing flexibility to think ahead is important,” Kurtz said. “If you know football is from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., make sure school responsibilities like homework and Chromebook charging are done ahead of time to avoid stress.”
Maintaining a healthy space for scholars is important to success and families can use tools such as organizational drawers to keep things in place. These storage containers are an easy way to consolidate the morning routine.
Kurtz said allowing scholars to take initiative of their organization is the starting point for staying coordinated headed into the new school year.
“Set expectations of what they want the school year to look like as far as their behavior at home and their school work at home and as well as at school,” Kurtz said. “Give some options and have conversations about organization as well so that they can have some more ownership of their schoolwork.”

About Pinnacle Academy
Pinnacle Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Euclid, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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