Part of the back-to-school fun is buying school supplies - a pristine box of crayons, unsullied note pads, colorful pens, a backpack with intriguing pouches.
Some schools send a supply list home at the end of the school year; others, such as most Toledo Public Schools, send lists home the first half-day of school or for older students, at orientation, or when they come in to pick up their schedules.
Many schools post supply lists on their Web sites. And increasingly, stores that stock school and office supplies have copies of school lists on their bulletin boards.
At the very least, pupils of all grades should arrive on the first day with pencil, (pens by fifth or sixth grade), paper, and backpack. They're likely to need a box or pencil case. They need to pay attention to what else the teacher tells them to bring and to do.
Gretchen Bueter is principal of the popular Grove Patterson Academy in West Toledo, which has 345 students in kindergarten through eighth grades. Parents who can t find the supply lists teachers sent home in June can pick up a copy at the school or request a faxed copy, said Ms. Bueter.
Most teachers ask for a couple of boxes of tissues. Some want re-sealable plastic bags, hand sanitizers, and wet wipes. Some request a clean, old sock for the dry-erase board, a T-shirt for physical education, and an oversized shirt for art projects.
On the list for Holloway Elementary School fourth-graders in Springfield Local Schools are two boxes of colored pencils for drawing maps and a ruler with both standard and metric measurements.
First-graders are asked to bring 12 different items in various quantities, including 24 No. 2 pencils, 8 glue sticks, 8 pocket folders of specific colors, 2 large boxes of tissues, and Fiskars scissors.
In the same district but at Holland Elementary School, supplies for first graders include 5 No. 2 pencils (already sharpened), and 1 pocket folder, with requests to have all materials out of packages and marked with a student s name, and to replace supplies as needed.
Luggage-like backpacks on wheels, which may get heavy loads off a child s back, are problematic to handle, easy to trip over, and not permitted in some schools.
Toledo Public Schools, with more than 35,000 students in 63 buildings, has pared-down lists because many students come from poor families, said Robert Clark, assistant superintendent for elementary schools.
We try to provide most of what a child needs, said Mr. Clark, adding that teachers of particular subjects might have requests, such as a special notebook for journal-keeping or graph paper or a scientific calculator for math.
Donations of supplies, which come from churches and organizations, are a help, added Jane Bruss, executive director of communications for the city s schools.
On the flip side, there are things parents should make sure their children do not take to school music players, electronic games, cell phones, medicine (including aspirin) that isn t turned into the school nurse, and cigarettes, said Cecelia Adams, assistant superintendent of the city s middle schools. Such items are not only disruptive, they re often stolen or broken, she said.
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