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Looking forward to school

SUMMIT COUNTY – School starts Tuesday, and doing a few things to prepare for the new scholastic year may make all the difference between a frenzied first day and starting off on the right foot.

A good night’s sleep

Many kids stay up late during the summer. While that may be OK during vacation, it can make adjusting to the school schedule even more difficult.



Now is the time to start going to bed and rising earlier – not the first day of school.

“Try to get your body to acclimate to an earlier bedtime and an earlier rise time,” said Tom Dickey, assistant principal at Summit Middle School.



“I think, in general, people just need to moderate their amount of sleep coming off the summer,” said Frank Mencin, principal at Summit High School. “You’ve got to move back the clock a little bit and go to bed earlier and get up a little earlier.”

It takes more than one day for one’s body to acclimate to changes in sleep habits. It may seem odd to go to make these changes before a holiday weekend, but it will help kids start school Tuesday rested and alert.

Take a tour

Kindergartners, middle school sixth graders, high school freshmen and any other students new to a school can ease their anxieties by visiting their school this week, before school starts.

It’s much easier – and less intimidating – to find one’s way around a new building when it’s empty than on the first day when the halls are filled with other students.

In high school, touring the school beforehand may make all the difference.

The school is returning to alternating block schedules this year – with four periods a day – but Tuesday’s schedule includes all eight classes, which may add to the confusion.

“Come on over Friday, if you’re confused,” Mencin said. “Tuesday’s going to be a real circus with getting everybody where they need to be.”

Students who have not already registered or haven’t received their schedules should visit the school this week to get the necessary information.

Practice

Parents of kindergartners or students new to an elementary school can help their children feel more confident on the first day not only by touring the school beforehand, but by rehearsing how their children will get to and from school.

If he or she will be riding the bus, walk to the bus stop together at least once before the first day, said Steve Riggins, principal at Silverthorne Elementary School.

Review etiquette for waiting at the bus stop, loading the bus and unloading at the end of the day.

“It’s real nice to have somebody at the bus stop at the end of the day,” Riggins said.

He suggests parents stress that their children should go straight home after school. At least once or twice a year, incidents occur where students visit their friends without telling their parents – causing panic for both their parents and school officials.

“We’re all very concerned about our guys and everybody being safe,” Riggins said, adding that students who ride their bikes to school should wear helmets.

Eat well

Get in the habit of eating breakfast before school.

“It’s the most important meal of the day,” Mencin said. “That sets the whole tempo for the rest of the day.”

Julie Madron, a fifth-grade teacher at Dillon Valley Elementary School, reminds parents to help their children pack healthy snacks for the school day, such as granola bars, celery and peanut butter or cheese and crackers.

Unlike sugary snacks, which give children temporary energy and are often followed by a lack of energy, healthy snacks can help students stay alert throughout the day.

Get ready

Instead of rushing around frantically Tuesday morning to organize school supplies, students should do that chore before going to bed Monday night.

Elementary students should remember to bring a pair of sneakers for physical education class, Madron said, and money if they’re going to buy their lunch.

Madron also suggests that students bring a bottle of water with them to school to prevent dehydration and keep cool while the weather is still warm. Most teachers allow water bottles in class, she said.

As students prepare for school, they are wise to familiarize themselves with their school’s dress codes, officials said. Students can reference their school planner or call the school for details on dress code.

Ready or not, the new school year starts Tuesday.

“Come with a great attitude and a smile “cause we’re going to be ready to go,” Riggins said. “We’re going to have a great school year.”

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or lsnyder@summitdaily.com


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