Ready for the New School Year?
August 1, 2020
Preparing for the new school year involves a lot of activity! Between purchasing new school shoes and clothes, shopping for school supplies, and finishing summer reading assignments, August can feel overwhelming.
This year, there may be fewer supplies to buy, and for students who are attending classes virtually, new school shoes and clothes may not be as high on the priority list. However, there are still some things that students need to do in order to prepare for the new school year.
- Review assignment expectations and complete any summer homework. Some schools ask for students to read a book or complete a packet or online module before the first day of class. These assignments can be helpful for students to get back in the swing of structured academics, and it can also provide the teacher with data on the students’ needs. A teacher may also assign students the same book to act as a team building exercise and give all students something in common to discuss when they return in the fall. In any case, it is important that students complete this work so that they can begin the school year on the right foot.
- Visit the doctor for a yearly physical and ensure that immunizations are up to date. Schools request up-to-date immunization records for every student each school year, and any student playing sports is required to get a physical every year. It is important that these forms are completed before the first day of school. Doctors’ offices tend to get very busy in August, so it is best to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Schools are audited for these forms, and not having them can result in schools being reprimanded. Students can also be excluded from school if these forms are not completed in a timely manner.
- Develop goals and get mentally ready for a new year. The start of a new year can be a great time to establish some objectives and work towards achieving them. While you can also set some goals as a family, help students set their own goals and find a way to hold themselves accountable. Doing so gives them a sense of ownership, empowerment, and responsibility. Whether it’s goals about getting to school on time, expanding one's social group of friends, or achieving higher grades, students have the ability to contemplate what they want to improve, set their own standards for success, change their behavior to meet those standards, and self-monitor to help them achieve their goals.
- Prepare for any changes that may occur in your student’s day-to-day experience. The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed how schooling can occur, and each district is creating a plan for how it will operate. Whether your student will be attending school virtually or in person, you can help them be prepared by going through the plan and sharing the relevant information. Help them practice wearing masks if that will be part of the protocol and talk to them about when it’s safe to take them off. Additionally, help them practice handwashing and other sanitary practices. Doing so at home may help you anticipate any other items, like lotions or gloves, that they may need. Ensure that they know how to log into their online platform and perform some basic trouble-shooting. Also, talk to them about expectations for behavior and acceptable use in a digital environment. If your child is going to a new school, ensure that they feel comfortable knowing who to ask for help and what the new rules may be.
- Gather necessary school supplies and other traditional back-to-school necessities. Start early so that you have the items on hand and are not rushing at the last minute. Doing it now allows you to spread out your spending, be in stores that are less crowded, have enough time to shop online, and gives your student the reassurance that they are prepared for the first day. Just seeing the pile of school supplies can help your child begin to mentally prepare for school, which will help all of you talk through any emotions that your student may be feeling.