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Page 2 – Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Parents: Take note of new dress code

By Tracy Agnew News Editor

A new dress code for both students and staff this year aims to keep everyone safe and focused on learning, according to Suffolk Public Schools. The School Board CMYK revisited the dress code several months ago to make some changes that take effect with this school year. Among the prohibited items for students are sagging pants, short skirts, clothing that is sexually suggestive or revealing, and more. Staff members have a more restrictive code that prohibits denim, T-shirts and spaghetti straps. “We’re always trying to keep the focus on teaching and learning,” said Deputy Superintendent Jacqueline Chavis. “It’s

always been the stand of the district that we have our students and staff dress in ways that will not distract from the learning process.” Chavis said proper clothing can promote the learning process, but inappropriate garb will distract from it. Other prohibited items, such as flip-flops for younger children who visit the playground during the school day, could cause a safety hazard. “We want to make sure they are free to run and play without falling or scraping their knees because of shoes that may not be appropriate,” she said. Another provision in the dress code prohibits any clothing that causes a disruption, distraction or safety hazard after evidence of the problem has been documented by

school employees. Regardless of the reason for the prohibition, students who violate the dress code can face discipline. It usually starts, Chavis said, with an opportunity to correct the problem, whether by pulling their pants up, turning an offensive shirt inside out, having a parent bring something from home or changing into clothes provided at the school. “It starts with speaking with the student and reminding them of the new dress code,” Chavis said. “We’re keeping the focus on making sure the consequences are in line with the infraction.” Chavis said buildinglevel administrators will be watching closely when school starts in September to begin enforcing the code. Making clear that it will See DRESS CODE, Page 3

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When picking out what to wear this school year, be aware of new dress codes in place for students and staff. Among the prohibited items for students are sagging pants, short skirts, clothing that is sexually suggestive or revealing, and more. Rules for staff prohibit denim, T-shirts and spaghetti straps.

CMYK Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012 – Page 3

Get started: Prepare now for brain strain From Staff Reports Suffolk News-Herald

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Don’t tell the kids, but even the family vacation can be a good opportunity to start getting children ready for the school year. Take that time in the car on the way to your destination to play games that will stimulate their imagination, put their math and spelling skills to use and refresh their knowledge of geography and history.

Children will soon be headed back to school, and it’s important to prepare them for the year ahead. As the educational landscape grows increasingly competitive, even the smartest students need an edge. With today’s hectic lifestyles, however, it can be difficult for parents and kids to find the time for enrichment. “Turning your regular activities into a learning

expectations are, there’s fewer instances where kids are reprimanded for not being in compliance.” Chavis urged parents to visit the school district’s website, www., to view the

new dress code, discuss it with their student and keep it in mind when back-to-school shopping. Anyone with questions is welcome to call the district’s main offices at 925-6750 to get clarification, she said.

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Making the most of down time

school includes a good dose of intellectual enrichment. Museums, nature centers and historical sites should be a staple of your leisure time and weekends. Take advantage of time in the car or downtime in general. Whether you’re waiting for dinner to be ready or you’re on a lengthy road trip, use learning tools and question-and-answer games to make the time both fun and educational.

Be sure time away from

Reading and writing

Give your children a variSee PREPARE page 4


DRESS CODE continued from page 2

be enforced is the best way to ensure students comply, she said. “[The regulations] really have to become part of the culture of the school,” Chavis said. “When school starts and kids know what the

experience can go a long way towards getting kids ready to go back to school,” says Kim Tredick, a fifthgrade teacher in Santa Clarita, Calif., and the 2006 Milken Award Winner. “Just be careful to make the learning fun and not too much like schoolwork.” Following are some cool ways to clear those cobwebs in preparation for a new school year.

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Page 4 – Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012 Prepare continued from page 3

ety of materials to read, like cookbooks, chapter books, nutritional panels, newspapers, magazines and movie schedules. Then test their understanding by summarizing what they read. Let them read aloud to you, siblings, neighbors and grandparents every day. Children can practice writing and help you at the same time by composing grocery lists, to-do lists and car directions. Encourage them to keep journals and correspond with relatives — both with handwritten letters and emails. Help improve their writing by editing together, paying attention to capitalization, punctuation and spelling.

Everyday math

Math is everywhere, so use it to your advantage. Cooking together from a recipe is a fun and practical way to learn about measurements, timing and following directions. When you’re out shopping, ask your kids to mentally add the total at the grocery store. This will be a lesson both in how money works and basic arithmetic. Work a percentages lesson into your day by having them calculate the sales tax at the register or calculate the tip at restaurants. School may not be in full swing yet, but savvy parents can help jumpstart their kids’ minds well before their first assignments.

'Turning your regular activities into a learning experience can go a long way towards getting kids ready to go back to school. Just be careful to make the learning fun and not too much like schoolwork.' Kim Tredick fifth-grade teacher in Santa Clarita, Calif.


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Think, ride and be safe From Staff Reports Suffolk News-Herald

A new school year means new routines. If your child is one of the millions of kids who ride the school bus, you should be encouraged by U.S. Department of Transportation statistics that cite it as the safest mode of transportation for children to get to and from school. Nevertheless, riding the school bus safely does require children to be aware of and to follow specific safety procedures. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Chuggington, the educational animated children’s television program, have partnered to offer parents and children important school bus safety tips as part of the “Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!” traffic safety campaign. The national traffic safety

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campaign helps parents teach their children about NHTSA’s recommended pedestrian, school bus, bike and car seat safety guidelines. Below are a few school bus safety tips from the “Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!” campaign for you to share with your children to make riding the school bus a safer experience: 4Be especially careful around the “danger zone,” which is 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus. To avoid this area, wait for the bus at least five giant steps away from the road. 4Wait to board the school bus until the driver says it’s safe to do so. Kids should board one at a time and use the handrails to go up and down the stairs. 4Once on the school bus, go straight to your seat and remain sitting, facing the front of the school bus.

4Look out for cars before getting off the school bus. Once off, take five giant steps away from the school bus. 4Wait for the driver or crossing guard to signal it is safe to cross the street. Always look left-right-left to make sure no cars are coming before crossing the road. Traffic safety education should be a positive, shared family experience. Parents can go online with children and take the pledge to “Be Safe!” together at www.chuggington. com/safety. In addition to the pledge (to date, more than 500,000 children have taken the pledge to “Be Safe!”), families can access a safety game, activities, downloadable tip sheets and even a free traf- CMYK fic safety app. By following the rules, both parents and children can help make getting to and from school each day safer for everyone.

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Page 6 – Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Get organized: Simplify back-to-school From Staff Reports Suffolk News-Herald

Back-to-school season is the ideal time for families to reestablish routines and get organized, both at home and on the go. But before hitting the stores for supplies, take time to plan ahead with shopping lists that meet both your children’s and your family’s needs. There are many great tips to help get a fresh start on the academic year ahead.


If you have more than one CMYK child, or want to stock up for the year, save on items like glue sticks, notebooks and writing utensils by taking advantage of sales and purchasing value packs, which are easy to find at back-to-school time.

For better deals on items like tissues and sanitizing wipes, hold off until you are also buying these products for the home at a warehouse club or with coupons.

Teach organization

Teach kids the importance of starting the day organized. One way to simplify the morning shuffle is by assigning a color to each child for easy identification of binders, backpacks and pencil pouches. Assign colors before shopping to prepare for easier in-aisle decisions. Many school supplies are available in a variety of trendy patterns and basic solid color options to complement and contrast styles. Or use color-coded stickers and labels to maintain consistency.

Synchronize schedules

The school year often brings

additional commitments for families. Creating a “mission control” in a central location in the home will improve communication and ease the stress of time management. Look for calendars with high functionality like meal planners, “look-ahead” features, magnetic backings and repositionable peel-and-stick adhesives. Don’t forget to include a whiteboard or corkboard, where notes can be left for one another. Student planners are crucial to help your children stay on top of due dates, keep their own commitments and operate on the same schedule as the rest of the family. Vow to spend time on a weekly basis reviewing and synching calendars and discussing the week ahead.


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Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to break the bank — and it doesn’t have to be stressful, either. Check the Web to see what’s needed, make a plan and tick off a little of it at a time.

Manage papers

With each new school year comes an overwhelming amount of handouts, reminders, permission slips and medical forms. Parents and children all benefit from a paper management system. Use bins, expanding files and binder dividers with “reminder” flags to keep track of priorities. Flag items needing immediate attention — whether homework or paperwork. If your children have busy

schedules, make it easier for them to work on the go. Opt for binders with writing surfaces, internal storage pockets for loose paper and places to stash pens and pencils. And you can do the same thing. Consider using binders and expanding files in the car to create a place for last-minute notes, papers and storage. With a little planning and creativity, the whole family can prepare to stay organized throughout the school year.

CMYK Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012 – Page 7

Get involved: You can help achieve success From Staff Reports Suffolk News-Herald

Children spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school. With all this time away from teachers, it’s important for parents to support their children’s learning. In fact, children whose parents are involved with them in family literacy activities score 10 points higher on standardized reading tests, according to the National Center for Family Literacy. “Learning can happen anywhere and at any time,” said Emily Kirkpatrick, vice president of NCFL. “Go beyond homework help and find learning moments in everyday life that fit in with your schedule.” Here are some tips for how you can take a more active role in your child’s education: 4It all starts with you. With some preparation on your part, you can be a better resource

for your child. Make sure that you, and those who spend time with your child, are well equipped to support learning. 4Turn a household shopping trip into a fun chance to do math. Take a walk outside to discuss nature or the community. Make a lesson plan out of the world around you. 4Develop a partnership with your child’s teachers. Talk with them about homework and be sure you understand what is expected. 4Some children need and want time to play when they get home, while others may want to get homework out of the way first thing. Set a schedule for your child that works for him or her, and make it a routine. Just be sure that your expectations are clear. 4Reinforce the idea that homework is not punishment, but a chance to practice new skills. You can help make it fun by rewarding progress.


4Ask your children thought-provoking questions, like what they wonder about. For inspiration you can turn to free online resources that emphasize fun in learning. 4Help set a timeline so that school assignments are not left until the last minute. Older children with assignments that will take several days or weeks to complete may need your help learning to manage their time. 4Checking to be sure assignments are complete is great, but don’t forget it is your child’s assignment, not yours. Do not do homework for your child. 4Read to your children or with them every night. Not only is this an enjoyable way to spend time together, it will benefit the child and help instill a love of learning. By getting more involved, you can help your children make this school year their most successful one yet.

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Parents who stay involved in their children’s education help create children who are more successful at school and in their future endeavors. Spend time making sure you know what you can do to partner with your children’s teachers.

Page 8 – Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Check up on vaccinations From Staff Reports Suffolk News-Herald

The beginning of the school year is a great time to make sure your children’s vaccinations are up-todate. Informed parents know that immunizations save lives. But even those who vaccinated their babies and toddlers dutifully may not be aware that the recommended vaccination schedule continues through the later teen years. Research published by the American Medical Association found that teenagers 14 and older were much less likely to see a pediatrician than their youngeradolescent counterparts. But threats to health don’t go away just because children are older. “We live in a busy world, and it’s CMYK easy to forget to make appointments for an annual check-up,” said Dr. Robert W. Block of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Let the new school season be your annual reminder to protect the health of your kids.”

Following are some crucial vaccination tips and facts for parents of older children and teens. 4Check your calendar. When was the last time your child saw a pediatrician? If it has been more than a year, make an appointment as soon as possible. In advance of the appointment, talk with your child and draw up a list of any concerns or questions to discuss with the doctor. 4Store immunization and other medical records in an easily accessible place and be sure to keep the records current. Bring this information to the appointment. When you see your pediatrician, ask directly, “What vaccines does my child need at this point?” 4Be sure to ask about the HPV vaccine, which is recommended for both boys and girls. While protection is most effective for adolescents 11 to 13, older teens who haven’t yet received the vaccine can benefit from it as well. This cancerpreventing vaccine will safeguard your teen’s health in the future. 4If financial considerations are

preventing you from taking your teen in for visits and immunizations, talk with your pediatrician. He or she may be able to point you toward resources that can offset the costs. 4All children ages 11 to 18 should be protected against meningitis, a deadly bacterial infection that’s spread easily in close living quarters. If teens are going to boarding school, college or the military, do not delay giving them the vaccine. 4Every year, more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized because of the flu and its complications, and 36,000 die. An annual influenza vaccine is an important part of protecting your children. Health authorities, including the AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend annual flu vaccine for everyone starting at 6 months of age. Your children’s health plays an important role in their academic success. Make sure you take steps to keep them safe from life-threatening dangers and prepare for a healthy school year.

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Just because your child is a teenager now doesn’t mean she doesn’t need vaccinations and booster shots. Check with your doctor to see what’s appropriate for her age and make sure to get her those shots before school starts

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There’s no better way to give your children a head start in school than to spend time reading to them and encouraging a lifelong love of reading.

Reading ahead: Give kids a good start From Staff Reports Suffolk News-Herald

The start of a new school year is a great time to emphasize the importance of reading at home. Solid readers perform better in school and in the workplace, have a healthy self-image, and become lifelong learners. Research shows a whopping 45 percent of children ages 3 to 5 are not read to daily, and this lack of literature can take a negative toll on school performance. Luckily, there are many things parents can do to make kids passionate readers. “Reading stimulates children’s imagination and expands their understanding of the world,â€? says actress Kate Beckinsale, who is teaming with The NestlĂŠ Share the Joy of Reading Program to raise awareness about the importance of children’s literacy and support the work of Reading Is Fundamental, the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. If you’re looking to make reading a bigger part of your children’s lives this school year, here are some great tips to get them motivated: 4Start young. Reading aloud to children at an early age is the most effective way to help them attain critical language and communication skills and instill great habits. 4Take advantage of free online tools and resources that help make reading an engaging, shared experience for parents and kids. For example, RIF’s “Leading to CMYK

Reading� website contains activities for children ages birth to 5. Visit kids/leadingtoreading for more information. 4Variety is the spice of life. Be sure your house contains plenty of books to choose from on a variety of topics. 4Launch a children’s book club with other parents. Take turns hosting your children’s friends for snacks and a lively discussion on the book of the month. 4Kids love getting mail. Subscribe to children’s magazines so they’ll have something fun and beneficial to look forward to each month. 4Make sure children have their very own library cards and become frequent patrons at your local library. 4Be it the morning paper or your favorite novel, set a great example by making reading a daily habit for yourself. 4Many literacy programs supporting underserved communities are experiencing federal funding cutbacks, but everyone deserves a chance to read. Invest in the lives of other children who might not have the same opportunities as your kids. Look for opportunities to help support those programs. Almost a quarter of public school fourth graders score below even the most basic levels on reading exams, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress. Don’t let your children fall behind.  Take steps this school year to help your children and others to hone this basic tool for success.


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Page 10 – Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dorm rooms: Plan carefully for best results From Staff Reports Suffolk News-Herald

From tiny closets to rude roommates, dormitory living can have its pitfalls. But students can get a handle on some dorm room dilemmas even before setting foot on campus this fall. These great tips will help make the dorm room or off-campus apartment experience more comfortable.

Shopping prep

Avoid purchasing items the school provides or prohibits. Find your school’s do’s and don’ts See DORM page 11


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CMYK Back to School, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, August 16, 2012 – Page 11 DORM continued from page 10

online, and use free tools like a checklist or online registry to coordinate with future roommates on styles, colors and who will be bringing what items for community use. Opt for retailers that have college students in mind this time of year and are offering special services. Some companies, for example, let students shop for dorm room essentials at a store near home or online and pick up everything at a store near campus. Use the college checklists and take advantage of in-store experts to stay organized and within budget.

Maximize space

Space is limited in the dorms. Create space under the bed, over the door and in the closet. Bed risers, storage cubes and rolling drawer carts are simple ways to cram all that stuff in small spaces. Double hanging rods and ultra-slim hangers with accessory bars can

Space is limited in the dorms. Create space under the bed, over the door and in the closet. maximize closet space.

Shower & primp

Due to lines in the community bathroom, students should never save showering until the last minute. Use a shower caddy to easily transport toiletries down the hall. Remember, this isn’t a private spa; bring a bathrobe and flip flops for trips to the shower.

Bed guide 101

A great night’s sleep is crucial to a young scholar. Night owls and morning larks alike will find a friend in earplugs and sleep masks to shut out light and sound from

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Your technology

Remember that outlets are limited in most dorm rooms, so consider streamlining with multipurpose gadgets that can let you listen to iPods, iPhones or the radio, set an alarm for class, or charge devices. There are a variety of products that perform all those tasks well. Multiply outlet access with an adjustable surge protector that reaches around furniture and corners, but be careful not to overload those devices.

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Back to School 2012  

We offer tips and tricks for getting your child started off on the right foot this year.

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