Back to School Tips for a Successful Year!

Environmental Learning for Kids
4 min readAug 25, 2023


ELK School Program: Dig Kits

As summer 2023 is quickly drawing to a close, the excitement and apprehension of heading back to school begins to knock at the door. The beginning of a new school year is a perfect opportunity to set the tone for academic success and personal growth. To ensure a fulfilling year ahead, we’ve gathered some essential back to school tips from ELK staff and Board members:

First Day Ready:

Pack everything you need the night before, including your outfit for the day. Double check your schedule to confirm where you need to go. Aim to make a good first impression with your teachers — that positivity will last all year long! Also, create a dedicated study area at home that is distraction free. A cluttered study environment can hinder your focus and productivity. Staying organized from the get-go will help you manage assignments, deadlines, and projects effectively.

Set Clear Goals:

After some reflection, define your academic and personal goals for the year. Whether it’s focusing on increasing your output in a certain subject, participating in extracurricular activities, or practicing better time management, having intentional goals will give your efforts a sense of purpose and direction. Reevaluate these goals as needed — they may change as time goes by.

Establish a Routine:

A consistent daily routine can really maximize your productivity. Set regular wake-up and sleep times to ensure you’re well-rested. Designate specific times for studying, physical activity, and relaxation. And of course, for ELK programming! A solid routine can help you manage your time successfully and reduce last-minute stress (usually from procrastination).

Embrace Effective Study Habits:

Discover the study and learning techniques that work best for you. Whether it’s creating flashcards, summarizing notes, or joining a study group, the learning methods that embrace your particular way of retaining and reflecting on information will make assignments and tests feel less overwhelming.

Seek Help and Stay Engaged:

Don’t hesitate to ask questions in class or seek help when needed. Teachers are there to support your learning journey. Additionally, get involved in school activities, clubs, or sports that interest you. This is also a great way to ensure you have a diverse network of friends and colleagues, later in life.

ELK School Program: Terrarium Time!

More ELK staff and Board Back to School reflections:

What excited you most about the first day of school?

“Getting to see my school friends again, and meeting new ones.”

“Getting to wear new clothes.”

What was or still is, your favorite way to close out the summer?

“My favorite back to school memory was realizing I had class with my favorite teachers.”

“Learning who my new teacher was going to be and making new friends.”

“Getting my first pair of glasses and being able to see the chalkboard finally!”

Remember, a successful school year is not just about grades; it’s about personal growth, building relationships, and trying new things to help discover your true passions. Your ELK family is always nearby to help mentor you in your educational journey and provide support as needed. P.S. — we always find that the outdoors is an extra special place to plan some study time in!

About Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK): Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) is a Denver-based, nonprofit organization established in 1996 to address the growing need to introduce and educate Colorado’s racially diverse youth about science, leadership, and careers. Twenty-seven years later, ELK continues to provide strong educational support, good role models, and opportunities for positive community action for youth, helping them to become engaged, productive, and successful members of society. Learn more at

About the Author: Kristina Gray received her Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science from MSU Denver in 2011. She has been a part of the nonprofit sector for over 10 years. She is an alumnus of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps VISTA program and the Hispanic Chamber Foundation’s Aspiring Leaders Program, Class of 2017. Kristina spends her free time advocating for justice and equity for all of Colorado’s youth & families and going on adventures with her husband and young daughter. Contact Kristina at



Environmental Learning for Kids

Environmental Learning for Kids cultivates a passion in science, leadership, and service in a diverse community of learners.