It’s just a little less than two weeks before children in the San Francisco Unified School District return to school. Time to get in that last-minute vacation, read just one more book on your summer reading list, and start preparing for the school year routine. How can we make this easier on our children and grandchildren, and ourselves? Seven simple steps may make the first of the school year smoother.
1. Learn about your school. Find the school websites. Learn about the school Loop Pages for more detailed information on local schools;
2. Learn how to get to school. Visit your children or grandchildren’s schools, and learn about he types of transportation available. Find alternate ways to walk, ride the bus, drive, or bicycle to the school. Make some contingency plans for unexpected events (transportations strikes or other disruptive activities). Get bus schedules and do a practice run to see how the system works;
3. Check the Calendar. Find out all the important school year dates (registration, holidays, and breaks). Take the school calendar into account when planning family outings, appointments, and events;
4. Learn about school meals. The SFUSD encourages all families to fill out the online meal application. Even if you don’t intend to sue the meal plan, you are still eligible for prizes, and the information helps the school district determine the eating habits and needs of the school community. Find out what the school cafeteria offers, what the guidelines are for bringing lunches and snacks, and apply for the online meal application;
5. Get involved. Find out about some of the ways you can help support your children/grandchildren’s school community. Whether you get involved in the neighborhood schools, the school district, or advocacy and other services for local schools, your involvement helps the schools provide our children with the best education possible. Once school begins, the school principal and teachers will give you other ideas for helping. Some schools like support during lunch and recess times. Find out what your school needs, and then find a way to help out.
6. Learn the rules and guidelines. Get up-to-date on your school’s handbook for students, and district guidelines. Avoid getting off on the wrong foot, and learn what you need to be aware of for a safe, productive, and happy school experience;
7. Learn to Adjust. Read the SFUSD’s suggestions for getting off to a good start: Returning to school involves adjustment on everyone’s part. Bedtime is a major issue, so get started early. Heading to bed a bit early for a couple of weeks probably works better than waiting until the last night to change the patterns and habits for sleep. Our circadian rhythms need a few days at least to adjust to changes in sleep patterns. The SFUSD provides some age-appropriate suggestions for helping your children adjust to the change in routines for the return to school.