Thursday, August 12, 2010
Being involved in your child's education is important for success

By Dr. Anthony Policastro I have often indicated how important parents are to their children's education. Children get a report card four times a year to let them know how they are doing. Perhaps parents need to get a report card as well. There are several subjects that are important for parents to be involved in related to their children's education. The first subject is "Homework." This is clearly an important role for parents. A grade of "A" should be given if homework is a joint assignment with the parent involved. A grade of "C" should be given if homework is done by the student and checked by the parent. (Remember that C is average and therefore a good grade). A grade of "F" should be given if parents do not pay any attention to homework. The second subject is "Parent-Teacher Conference." Interacting with your child's teacher is important for several reasons. It keeps the lines of communication open and lets you know what is going on. It also gives you the chance to discuss concerns with the teacher. A grade of "A" should be given if you attend all those that are scheduled and contact the teacher in between as necessary. A grade of "C" should be given if you keep those that are scheduled but have no other contact. A grade of "F" should be given if you do not attend the conferences. The third subject is "Setting the Example." Children learn more by seeing what you do than by listening. Parents need to show children that school and school activities are important. A grade of "A" should be given if you are active in the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), attend your child's school activities and attend other school activities. A grade of "C" should be given if you do at least two of the three. A grade of "F" should be given if you do not attend any of the activities. The fourth subject is "Out of School Learning During the School Year." This is related to teaching your child over and above what is done in the classroom. It involves things such as giving your child an allowance to learn about money, reading to your child at night, having your child read to you, teaching your child a hobby, enrolling your child in a sport and enrichment classes of other types. It also involves visits to educational events such as a visit to the Salisbury Zoo or the Ross Mansion. A grade of "A" should be given if you do these kinds of things on a daily basis. A grade of "C" should be given if you do these kinds of things on a weekly basis. A grade of "F" should be given if you do not do these kinds of things. The fifth subject is "Out of School Learning During the Summer." While there is no formal class during the summer, there are multiple learning opportunities. These are the same kinds of things that are useful during the school year. However, during the summer they become more important because there are no additional learning opportunities going on in school. Thus, it is more of a challenge to the parents. A grade of "A" should be given if these things happen several times a week during the summer. A grade of "C" should be given if they happen several times a month. A grade of "F" should be given if they do not happen at all during the summer. The sixth subject is "Screen Time." It is a known fact that time spent with TV, video games and Internet does not improve learning. A grade of "A" should be given if there is less than two hours of screen time only on non-school days. A grade of "C" should be given if there is 1-2 hours of screen time every day. A grade of "F" should be given if there is more than 2 hours of screen time per day or more than 14 hours per week. Once you give yourself a full report card, it will give you the chance to decide where you can improve your efforts in educating your children. Many of these items are not directly related to the school so the burden lies solely on the parents to provide the education that their children need.

Annual Heart Walk October 2 Just a few months ago, doctors discovered an atrial septal defect in the heart of five-year-old Emily Carpenter. The wall separating the upper chambers of Emily's heart had a hole measuring approximately 2.5 centimeters. "We were shocked. We were scared," said Kristen Perrego, who is Emily's mother and is also an Operating Room nurse at Bayhealth - Kent General Hospital. It was an agonizing decision for Perrego and her husband, as they had the option of allowing invasive open heart surgery on their daughter, or choosing a less invasive interventional procedure in which a metal mesh implant would be placed into the hole through a catheter that would be inserted through Emily's thigh, up her artery, and into her heart. The interventional procedure did not require surgeons to open up her chest, but it carried other risks. "The doctors told us that the interventional procedure had a 50 percent chance of success and the implant itself could damage Emily's heart tissue and create other issues," said Perrego. So, on June 24, Emily underwent open heart surgery. Surgeons sewed a patch over the hole in her heart and, in spite of some minor complications, the feisty Dover girl made a quick recovery. Just six days after her surgery, she returned home to play with her toys and run outside. Today, Emily Carpenter is an active pre-kindergarten student who enjoys playing house with the other kids at the Bayhealth Child Care Center in Dover. She has also taken on an important role as the "new face" of the Bayhealth Heart Walk team for the upcoming American Heart Association Heart Walks in Kent and Sussex Counties. "Emily has inspired people to join the Heart Walk. Proceeds from the AHA 2010 Heart Walk will go towards research which may someday benefit patients just like Emily," said Kim Holmes, MSN, RN, who is the captain of the Bayhealth - Kent General Hospital Heart Walk Team. Walkers from the Bayhealth - Kent General Hospital Heart Walk Team will participate in the Kent County Heart Walk on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Mirror Lake in Dover. Walkers from the Bayhealth - Milford Memorial Hospital Heart Walk Team will participate in the Sussex County Heart Walk on Saturday, Oct. 2, at Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown. To be a member of the Bayhealth - Kent General Hospital Heart Walk Team, call Kim Holmes at 744-6217. To join the Bayhealth - Milford Memorial Hospital Heart Walk Team, call Kim Wilkins at 430-5719. The Next Step support group Compassionate Care Hospice, The Wellness Community-DE and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will collaborate to present a monthly bereavement group, The Next Step. This support group focuses on issues of loss that continue beyond the early stages of grief. Mary Van House, bereavement coordinator, will facilitate The Next Step on Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, 1st Floor Resource Library. To register, call Lisa at 629-6611, ext. 2378.

Prostate screenings offered September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and, once again, the Cancer Care Center staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will provide prostate screenings to the community on Friday, Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Miller Building (121 S. Front St., Seaford). There is a $5 screening fee and pre-registration and fasting are not required.

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital encourages men over the age of 50 to take advantage of this service. Men 40-years-old and at high risk of developing prostate cancer are also encouraged to participate. African-American men and men who have a family history of the disease have a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. For more information, call Melinda Huffman, nurse navigator, at 629-6611, ext. 3765 or 2378.

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones held at The Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The next meeting takes place on Aug. 16 at 4:30 p.m. The Wellness Community, an affiliate of the Cancer Support community, is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. Facilitators are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree or more. Call 645-9150 for information or to register for this program. All support groups offered at the Wellness Community are free of charge. This program is made possible by the support of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.

Food safety classes offered The University of Delaware Sussex County Cooperative Extension office will hold two levels of food safety courses this September, ServSafe and Dine Safe, at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, 16483 County Seat Hwy., Georgetown. ServSafe will be taught on Thursday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dine Safe is Thursday, Sept. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. A ServSafe certificate from the NRAEF will be awarded to individuals who complete the course and receive a passing grade on the exam. The cost of $145 for the course covers the training, textbook, lunch, and certification examination from the NRAEF.A reduced course fee of $125 is available for three or more registrants from one establishment. Dine Safe is a three hour session designed to focus on the basic principles of food safety and handling. Each participant receives a training guide with the information covered in the program. All participants will receive a certificate of participation. The Dine Safe short course is $25.Dine Safe can be scheduled at a business location provided there are at least 10 employees enrolled. Registration forms for both classes are available by visiting: For more information, contact Michele Walfred at 856-2585, ext 544.

BBQ & Antique Car Show Methodist Manor House will hold the 2nd Annual Chicken BBQ & Antique Car Show to benefit Delaware Hospice on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 3 p.m., at 1001 Middleford Rd., Seaford. Guests will also enjoy a live broadcast of Eagle 97.7, bake sale, craft table, gift shop and Manor House Thrift Shop. Cost is $8 per chicken platter. Tickets may be purchased from the receptionist at Methodist Manor House.

Autism Delaware tournament Sign up for Go Fish, a bass fishing tournament to benefit Autism Delaware's southern location and the advocacy, education and support services they provide to improve the lives of people with autism and their families. Go Fish will be held on Sunday, Sept. 19, at eight ponds throughout Kent and Sussex counties, and will be followed by a celebration at Milford's Bicentennial Park. Anglers of all ages and abilities are welcome. Each team of two can register for $40 and will receive an information and fundraising packet. Prizes, including a grand prize of $500 and special youth prizes, will be awarded at the celebration. The public is welcome to attend the celebration which will include fun for all ages with music by Code Blue, food from Go Fish of Rehoboth and kids games. Nominal fees will be charged for games and food for those not participating on a fishing team. Pro bass fisherman Mike DelVisco will fish in the tournament Sunday and participate in the celebration. There are 160 slots for fishing so register today by visiting or calling 422-2255.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Dr. Ahmed joins NMH Nanticoke Memorial Hospital welcomes Shafiuddin Ahmed, MD to its active medical staff. Dr. Ahmed, a member of the Nanticoke Physician Network, specializes in neurology. Dr. Ahmed completed his neurology residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed his fellowship in stroke at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.Dr. Ahmed is committed to increasing public awareness of stroke and has been an author or co-author of more than 45 publications. Dr. Ahmed is accepting new patients at his office located at 1320 Middleford Rd., Suite 202, Seaford. To make an appointment, call 628-4231.

Dr. Evangelista joins NMH Nanticoke Memorial Hospital welcomes Mark Ang Evangelista, MD to its active medical staff. Dr. Evangelista specializes in internal medicine and joins Seaford Internal Medicine at 1501 Middleford Rd., Seaford. Dr. Evangelista completed his internal medicine residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. He holds a doctorate of medicine and a bachelor's degree in public health from the University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines. He worked as chief resident at North General Hospital in New York, N.Y., before joining Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. His professional memberships include the American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, and the Philippine Medical Association. To make an appointment with Dr. Evangelista, call 629-4569.