POPE’S VIEW: It’s time for a back-to-school checklist

As I read Friday’s Record, I noted with nostalgia and some surprise the headline, “Opening orientation on tap for Aug. 9,” on an article on the new school year.


It is that time already?

Just a month left of summer? Four weeks, five days.

Didn’t school just end?

I am no longer the parent of a student, but I recall asking myself those same questions every year. And the answers were always the same: Yes, yes, and yes.

Summer sure starts to pass quickly once the First Day is in public view. This year, school opens on Aug. 10, a Thursday. Orientation is the day before.

Thus, it’s time to start the back-to-school checklist. It’s optional, but an early start pays off in the long run.

First the closet inventory: Can your child still wear those clothes? Take what he or she cannot and either pass it on to the next sibling or box it for a local charity.

Sit down with your kid and talk about clothes and shoes needs. Download the school district’s student conduct code for dress (http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us). And note the Back-to- School Sales-Tax free shopping begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 4, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6.

Then, school supplies. Usually stores gets these early from the schools, or you can check the school website. The school supply lists will be available at orientation on Aug. 9 if you can wait that long. Otherwise, check out the local department store and if it is not there, call the school.

Each school usually has a different list. Don’t trust one that is not for your school.

A word about orientation: This is an all-important time for you and your student. Don’t miss it because you forgot to ask the boss for time off. Now’s the time to make that request.

Put it on your child’s calendar, too.

Because it is the day before school begins, students want to use up every second of that last day for vacation. Make sure your child knows, orientation first; fun second.

The school year will go much more smoothly if orientation is attended, too.

In future days, the front office will be as far as you can go without first checking in. Make sure you stop in and meet that staff.

Visit also the media center (library), gym, playground, cafeteria and even the restrooms. It is important to see where your child will be spending a large part of his/her day. It also helps you when your child is talking at home about what he/she did at school.

I look at it this way: If you take your child to orientation, then your child will know where they are going on opening day, as will you the next time you show up.

Orientation day builds confidence.


Margo C. Pope was associated with The St. Augustine Record for 24 of her 42 years with Morris Publishing Group. She retired in 2012 as The Record’s editorial page editor.