Ready or Not, it’s Back to School

By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

Whether you’re excited or dreading it, the 2019-2020 school year is going to kick off in just a couple weeks. There will be an open house to allow incoming students to feel at ease with a chance to find their classroom and meet their teachers on Monday, August 19 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. for grades one through twelve.  The official first day for these students will be Tuesday, August 20.  Kindergarten students will have an open house on Friday, August 23 with times to be determined, their first day taking place Monday, August 26.  Preschool will have small group days in the later part of August (teachers will be in touch with parents to schedule) with their official first day commencing Tuesday, September 3.   So what are some things we as parents should know and share with our children to help make this year a fantastic year?

Be aware of the bus schedule and be on time.  Don’t start off running behind.  Have all of your first day necessities laid out and ready.  Have you backpack by the door with your shoes and ready to grab on the way out of the house.  And speaking of buses, drivers need to be on the lookout for those flashing lights on your morning commutes.  A lot of these children don’t realize the danger and assume it is safe when the doors are open because their bus driver did all of the necessary precautions.

Know your teacher and where your classroom is.  This is why they offer these open house events to aid in first morning jitters.  It will be comforting to know whose face you will see on that first morning and where your classroom will be.  If you are unable to attend the open house or are unsure which bus or teacher you have, reach out to the Board of Education to ask for guidance as they will be happy to help!

Do your best to stay healthy.  Eating a good, balanced breakfast to start your day is of upmost importance.  Tucker County Schools will offer free lunches at all three schools starting this fall, so please take advantage of this program and eat lunch as well.  School nurse Kimberly Wamsley said, “As the new school year begins, I would like to remind parents of some guidelines of when to keep students home from school:  nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, persistent cough, unidentified rash, or an oral temperature over 100 F.  A student must be fever free (without using medications) for 2 hours before returning to school.”  Wamsley continued, “Healthy students learn best, let’s all do our part to keep children healthy and in school.”  Urge your children to wash their hands thoroughly, use hand sanitizer, and cover their coughs and sneezes.

Staying healthy also requires staying physically active and getting enough rest.  The better night’s rest you receive, the more focused and alert you will be during instructional time.  When you have a chance to get up and stretch your legs, take advantage to do so.  Get a breath of fresh air if possible to help wake up your senses and get your blood circulating again.  Participate in recess activities and physical education class.  Taking precautions today can spare you from hardship later in life.

Parents, make sure you are aware of any changes to the school policies or procedures.  Most of the time these will be made available online or in the school handbook your child will be given on the first day of school.  One of the bigger topics on the board agenda last year to address was a head lice procedure.  The policy lists parent responsibilities, which includes not sending your child to school with untreated, live head lice.  After that student has been treated, they are still not permitted to ride the school bus until cleared to return to school.  For in depth details on this procedure, you can find a downloadable document at

Make friends!  Friendship is an important part of life and you never know who out there is in need of a new friend.  This brings me to another important topic: bullying.  There is no good that can come from being a bully or standing by and letting someone be bullied.  Be that friend who steps in and redirects the situation or inform your teacher or another adult.

Try something new.  Want to give a club or sport a try, why not?  How about 4-H or FFA?  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you may find something you never expected to be a hidden talent.  Maybe you’ll discover it’s not all you thought it would be, and that’s okay, too!  The thing is; you’ll never know until you give it a try.

A few of the local teachers wanted to share a bit of advice before returning to school as well.  Third grade teacher at TVEMS Kimberly McCrum felt Barbara Smith said it best with her quote, “Together may we give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly.”  Tara Dilly, a new fourth grade teacher at TVEMS said, “I personally think some of the best advice is to remember that learning is collaboration between the teacher, student, and parents, and this being my first year as a classroom teacher, I am looking forward to that collaboration.”

Kelly Underwood, sixth grade teacher at TVEMS said, “My advice to students is to do what is asked of you and be respectful.  My advice to parents is to use LiveGrades to check on your child’s progress.  If you don’t have a computer or device to access it, go to the public library.  Those ladies are more than helping to help you.”  She continued, “Also, make sure you child has pencils and paper throughout the year.  The box of pencils you send at the beginning of the year is probably gone in a month, so restock all supplies periodically.  Check your child’s assignment book every day.  The teachers will work with you.  As they say, it takes a village to raise a child.”

Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School Principal Neil Kisamore had this to say about the upcoming new school year at his school, which has been undergoing construction.  “We just want parents and students to know that we have been working at the school this summer to give DT an updated look.  We are excited about the new year and hope the fresh new look will lead to an amazing year.”  He concluded, “Get ready for an exciting year and a push towards making Davis Thomas a school of excellence.”

As you can see, everyone’s hopes are flying high for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.  Just remember to treat others the way you want to be treated and dedicate yourself in everything you do.  I will leave you with this piece of information provided by Board of Education Vice President, Daniel “Chopper” Evans.  “The only thing that can stop you from achieving greatness by is you.  You can accomplish anything when you put forth the effort.”  Have a happy and safe school year to all Tucker County students and staff!


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