Back to School: How parents and students should prepare

Back to School

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – For many area school districts, students will begin the new school year within weeks.

The list of items that every parent must take care of to ensure their child has everything they need for a successful school year is long. The requirements can also vary depending on your student’s age, the school they are attending, and what activities they want to participate in. 

Some steps are more important than others and often times parents may not know how to prioritize which should be taken care of first. 

Kettering School District’s Assistant Superintendent Dan VonHandorf spoke about some of the most essential steps that parents in any district should know.

1. Parents must take care of registration immediately 

Children must be registered with their areas school district in order to attend. Although they do not need to be registered every year, any student starting in a new school must have the parents register with that new school.

Reasons for needing to register can include a recent family move to a new neighborhood, children moving to a new school within the same district, or enrolling into a private or select school. 

VonHandorf said that as the school’s start date approaches, registration offices quickly backup and often require an appointment. 

“A lot of times there is a big log-jam of appointments right before school starts,” said VonHandorf. “Right now if you haven’t contacted the local school district that you live in, I would contact them now to make sure you get an appointment. There’s only so many hours in a day and you can only process so many families.”

In the Web Extra below, Dan VonHandorf talks more about the importance of early registration:

Often times, parents who put off this step find that their child may not be able to start at the same time as the rest of the school or be able to register for some classes. 

2. Parents must be proactive

As the availability of internet has increased, schools have begun sending less paperwork home with children or by mail. 

Often times, schools are now relying on parents to use the school’s websites to find out key information about events, deadlines, and other requirements. 

Many parents with questions will often be automatically be redirected to the school’s website to find information. Each school will provide information such as school lists, medical requirements, after-school activities, and more. has assembled a list of area school districts and provided their website information and more here. 

“Schools send things out like newsletters and information that is important and you need to have,” said VonHandorf, “but it’s really good to be proactive. It would be great to not just sit back and wait, but to actively go out and find information so that your kid has the very best experience that they can.”

VonHandorf also said that many schools regularly update their social media pages and that parents will often be able to find the latest updates on those websites. 

Parents should also not be afraid to ask their child to use the school’s resources to get information on their own. Many activities or events that schools setup are easily accessible to any student through the school.

“They have to learn,” said VonHandorf. “Our goal is to have them be independent, functioning members of society when they graduate.”

3. Start preparing your kids for their school routines 

Many children and teenagers can feel a shock to their system when they begin a new year of school. Their bodies may be used to sleeping longer, not being as active during the day, and their brains may not have been as stimulated by new information. 

In order to decrease the impact on a student’s system, VonHandorf said that it is important to begin getting the student ready in the days and weeks leading up the new school year. 

VonHandorf said that beginning to implement early bedtimes for younger children is one of the steps parents can take as school approaches. 

Some schools even offer programs designed to help incoming students with being prepared for the new year. 

“Especially if you’re going to a new school,” said VonHandorf, “make sure they can get into school before it starts so they can look around, find their lockers, maybe meet some of their teachers. If your kid is nervous about starting school, schools are open. You can come in and walk around a bit and make sure your kid is comfortable.”

The Web Extra below expands on preparing children for their new school routine:

VonHandorf said that every school is working to make the process as easy as possible for every family and that transparency and accessibility was the major goal of every school district in the area. 

“There is a ton of information out there,” said VonHandorf. “Our goal is to give parents and kids information so that they can make choices about what best meets their family [needs].”

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