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School’s in on Wednesday

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Getting students ready to head back to class is more than just new supplies and clothes.

By Todd Martin

With the start of school coming up on Wednesday, teachers, students and parents are gearing up for the 2013-14 school year.

And, according to the National Retail Federation, that means about $26.7 billion will be pumped into the economy for school supplies, new clothes and electronics. Including those going to college that works out to about $634 per shopper on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics.

However, getting that One Direction notebook, the perfect messenger bag or a North Face backpack – a few of the hottest back-to-school items, according to Google – isn’t all it takes to be prepared for that first bus ride and morning bell on Wednesday.

There are a few new things for parents to watch out for this year.

“Each school, in fact each grade level at each school, has tailored a school supply list of what they’d like students to have by way of school supplies,” Shelby County Public Schools Public Relations Coordinator Ryan Allan said. “And there are a few things that parents need to keep in mind each year, like buses will not drop off a kindergartener unless someone is physically present to receive them.”

He also noted that first-year students at Painted Stone Elementary should be reminded that khaki pants and a collared shirt fit the dress code, similar to the dress codes at Shelby County and Collins high schools.

The lists for school supplies are available at local retailers and on the district’s Web site (www.shelby.kyschools.us) under the quick links section.

Another new note for this year was the district’s institution of a summer reading requirement.

“Every students in grades one through six were given a book at the end of last year with the expectation of it being read this summer,” Allan said. “The first unit they will learn in the new school will focus on the book.”

The books are:

  • First grade – Biscuit Goes to School
  • Second grade – Chrysanthemum
  • Third grade – A Chair for my Mother
  • Fourth grade – Hotel for Dogs
  • Fifth grade – Frindle
  • Sixth grade – My Life in Dog Years

Other than that, Allan said the district doesn’t have any new sweeping policies or changes this year, but he reminded parents that staying involved and connected with their child’s school and district is one of the best tips he can provide.

The district soon will have a new tool for parents called InfoFinder, which will help them track the district’s buses by address.

“It will allow you to enter an address and find when buses are going to be going by,” he said. “Parents can also stay connected with us through Facebook, Twitter and by signing up for One Call Now.”

And to get ready for Wednesday Allan notes that the tried and true methods are still the best way to get students prepared.

  • REST: Going back to school after a summer of non-standard bedtimes can be hard on kids who now find themselves having to follow a new routine.
  • READ: Read, read, read and read some more, especially the young ones. Research shows that the students who fail to read early rarely develop into great students in middle and high school. Kids should be reading every night.
  • RELAX: A lot of kids can experience some anxiety about changes to their routine. Adjusting to new teachers, and in some cases new buildings, is a weight too. Add it all together and for some kids it can be overwhelming.
  • READINESS: Preparing kids for what they’re likely to encounter is so helpful. Having them know your cellular phone numbers, that your name isn’t ‘mommy,’ where they live, etc. will help them.
  • ROUTINE: One of the best practices for kids is to get them into a routine. This helps with all the other tips and so many others – a consistent bedtime, a place for homework, limits on TV and cell phone usage. All things that will help your child succeed.
  • REACH OUT: Please don’t wait until a question becomes a concern – call, email, follow-up with anything that’s on your mind.