What your child will bring home in the first weeks of school

The first couple of weeks of school is a blur of backpacks and new sneakers and lunchboxes or lunch codes and locker combinations and bus numbers and paper. So much paper. 

You’ll get in the groove, but until you do, here’s a list of things might come home in the first week or two of school that you need to find and respond to to make sure the year starts smoothly.

Requests from the school

These include anything that the school wants you to fill out and return. It might be:

  • Emergency forms/cards
  • Transportation information
  • Behavior contract/agreement (like an acknowledgement that you have seen and agree to the school or class rules)
  • School handbook (some schools ask you to sign that you have received and read it)
  • Conference schedule
  • Volunteer sign-ups/CORI forms
  • Information from the school
  • Calendar
  • Lunch menu
  • Teacher contact information/welcome letter
  • Supply list
  • Syllabus for each class (high school and maybe middle school)
  • Log-in information for you and/or your child
  • Schedules
  • Bus route information
  • Extra-curricular activity signups
  • Sports information
  • Registration for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts
  • Club schedules
  • Information on extra help from teachers
  • PTA/PTO sign-up forms

Questions you might ask

  • How will I be notified of school announcements/emergency information? – Most schools now use a digital program that lets them robo-call families and/or send out texts and emails, depending on what parents request
  • When is Open House/Back to School Night?
  • When are conferences? How do I sign up?
  • Is there a directory of other families in the school so we can set up playdates and carpools?
  • What are the policies on snacks/allergies, birthday invitations, staying home sick/makeup work, absences, consequences/rewards for behavior, dress code?
  • What are the expectations for homework? How much? When? In what form?

Schools mostly have systems for getting the key information out to parents, so you probably won’t have to track down the answers to many of these. In fact, they should be in the school handbook or on the school or teacher’s website. But keeping your eyes open for this information as it comes in means you won’t miss deadlines and you can get your child’s school year off to a smooth start. Happy back to school!

Don’t forget to download a free binder checklist and shopping list to build a system to keep all those papers organized for your child!

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