As the beginning of school draws closer, parents are busy preparing their children for that first day through the usual stock-piling of supplies, but emotionally as well.
"We have a long-standing tradition of school shopping at Office Max," said parent Carrie Brown-Wolf, who has children going into the 10th, seventh and fifth grades. "The kids each get their own cart with their own list, and they help fill my cart with supplies for one student who needs a filled backpack."
Summit School District's central office takes donations, and Brown-Wolf's children like to be involved. Before their annual trip, the family does a big inventory of what they have at home, and almost always find colored pencils and erasers that can be reused.
Parent Donna Horii's two children, ages 12 and 14, don't need as many supplies as they did when they were younger, Horii said, but they do visit Target to pick out what they need. When it comes to clothing, the children kill two birds with one stone by first cleaning out their closets and seeing what still fits, and then giving the extra to others who need it.
But beyond making those annual trips to Walmart, Target and Office Max, there's also the affair of preparing children emotionally for the switch to their schedules.
Horii's family is going on vacation beforehand to relax, and "we start talking about it, getting them excited to go back," she said.
Brown-Wolf's family plans a few fun activities for fall the children can look forward to, and has a tradition to hike the day before school starts. This gets them tired so they can sleep, and gives them some time together, she said.
"I think being out in the woods is good for ailments," she said. "They do get a little nervous about school starting, but mostly, they are just sad to see summer end."
Besides gathering up wardrobe and supplies, there are other duties and fees associated with going back to school. There's registration (information was sent out for most of Summit schools), materials fees (cost depends on the school) and at Summit Middle and Summit High School levels, sports and activity fees. Major activity fees at the middle school run $40 per activity, while its $50 at the high school. At the high school, its $125 per sport ($325 for ice hockey), while middle school students pay $40 or $65. Students who drive to school are charged a $65 parking fee per semester.
There's also sports physicals and immunizations to think about - Summit Youth Services Center will be providing these Aug. 13 and 14 - and after children are settled into their school-day routines, the back-to-school nights.
"It's a time for the students to take their parents around the building," said Jaimee Borger, district spokeswoman. Parents and teachers are available to chat those nights.
Deb Estreich, director of transportation for the school district, reminds drivers to be aware of children walking to school or waiting at bus stops, especially between the hours of 6:30 - 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 - 5 p.m. Children under 10 have one-third the peripheral vision adults do, so "it makes them difficult for them to judge the speed or distance of oncoming traffic," she said.
During warmer weather, several hundred children walk or ride bikes to their respective schools each day.
Estreich also reminds drivers to be prepared to stop for a school bus. When bus lights are flashing amber, it's a warning the bus is preparing to stop. When they're flashing red, the bus is stopped and traffic from both sides are required to stop.
Parents should remind their children to be a safe pedestrian while they're walking to bus stops, and arrive at least five minutes ahead of time, she said. If children are walking, Estreich said parents should help them choose the safest route and do a walk-along with their children.