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It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over for Lancaster County schoolchildren. While autumn doesn’t officially arrive until next month, Monday morning thousands of local students will say goodbye to the carefree days of summer and return to the classroom.
This week, teachers began getting their rooms ready for their new students. Their planning and preparation will pay off as they welcome students back. Many students will be sporting new clothes and shoes and carrying new lunch boxes and backpacks full of new school supplies.
The first day of school is an exciting time. There’s the anticipation of seeing old friends and making new ones. Some students will be going to a new school. Some will be going to school for the first time. So will some teachers.
It is important to be open-minded and maintain a good attitude on the first day and every day after it.
Getting ready for school is no small task.
“I think we all lose sight of what a huge undertaking it is to make school happen – not just the first day, but every day,” said Dr. Gene Moore, superintendent of Lancaster County School District, in a 2006 column he wrote about his own first day of school.
It takes the cooperation of teachers, staff, students and parents to make school happen. While everyone doesn’t always agree, the goal is the same – to provide the best possible education for all our students.
Everyone involved has to go through a transition period. Teachers and students have to get acclimated to the school schedule and each other. Buses have to get the students to and from school. The cafeteria staff has to prepare meals that are nutritious and appealing to students, teachers and staff members.
Parents also play a major role in their children’s education. After all, a parent is a child’s first teacher.
Getting into the school routine also takes preparation. Students need to go to bed early to get enough sleep. Little things, like having their clothes laid out the night before, homework done and packed up in their backpack, lunch money ready or lunch boxes packed, helps save time in the morning.
Don’t skip breakfast. Children need to eat breakfast, even if it is just a protein bar.
Leave early enough to deal with the traffic. And there will be plenty of traffic. Buses and vehicles will be letting children out in the mornings and picking them up in the afternoons. And all of us commuters will be caught up in the back-to-school rush.
So it is important we all practice caution. Drivers need to remember to slow down and be patient. School buses will be part of the traffic congestion. Obey the law. Don’t pass stopped school buses. Young drivers will also be in the mix – some behind the wheel for the first time. Be alert because sometimes young drivers may not be as attentive as they need to be.
Watch out for students who are walking to school. Bus riders also need to practice safety. Don’t play in the road while waiting for the bus. And make sure the bus driver sees you get off the bus.
Yes, school is back in session. And we all need to do our part to make sure everyone stays safe.
Remember that today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. We need to set a good example for them and help guide them. It will take the cooperation of all of us to make sure these future leaders get the education they need.