Enjoy it while it lasts, kids.
This is your last full week of summer break. Schools in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties start the 2013-14 school year next week, and teachers are busy this week getting their classrooms ready.
Here's the must-know information to get your family prepared for the 2013-14 school year:
Reporting back and registering
Opening day: Monday
Required for registration: Completed registration form, child's birth certificate, S.C. Certificate of Immunization, two proofs of residency that include street address such as utility bill or rental agreements, proof of guardianship if student lives with someone other than parent.
more information: Check with your child's school, the district office at 899-8600, or the district's website at berkeley.k12.sc.us
Opening day: Wednesday
Required for registration: Child's birth certificate, S.C. Certificate of Immunization; notarized affidavit of residency, proof of residency with a signed current lease or most recent tax bill and one of either a utility bill, voter registration, car registration, pay stub, or piece of local/state/federal agency mail.
more information: Check with your child's school or the district's website at charleston.k12.sc.us. The district also has a back-to-school hotline, 937-6366, that will take calls from Aug. 15-23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dorchester District 2
Opening day: Monday
Required for registration: Child's birth certificate, S.C. Certificate of Immunization, proof of residency such as a current utility bill that includes a service address in the parent or guardian's name.
more information: Check with your child's school, the district office at 873-2901, or the district's website at dorchester2.k12.sc.us.
Dorchester District 4
Opening day: Monday
required for registration: Child's birth certificate, S.C. Certificate of Immunization, proof of residency.
more information: Check with your child's school, the district office at 563-4535, or the district's website at dorchester4.k12.sc.us.
Getting ready for the first day
Hands of Christ is a Presbyterian Church (USA) program that gives free uniforms and school supplies to needy elementary and middle school students in the Lowcountry.
Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who has a picture ID, and pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students are eligible for the supplies. Families only will be served once per year, and families are encouraged to arrive early to distribution sites.
Thursday: 4 p.m. at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 411 N. Academy St., in Kingstree
Thursday: 5 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1157 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., in Charleston
Friday: 5 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1157 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., in Charleston
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1157 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., in Charleston
It's Cool to be in School
North Charleston will host its sixth annual “It's Cool to be in School” school supply giveaway from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Charleston Area Convention Center. Supplies will be given to children on a first-come, first-served basis. The program is organized by the city police department's Community and Police Panel, and area churches and businesses participate.
Hootie's Homegrown Roundup
More than 1,000 students from nine Charleston County schools are invited to take part in Hootie's Homegrown Roundup on Aug. 24 to get motivated, prepared and ready for the start of the new school year.
The event will be held from noon until 4 p.m. at Burke High School auditorium, 244 President St.
Eligible schools are Murray LaSaine Elementary, A.C. Corcoran Elementary, Goodwin Elementary, Hunley Park, Ladson Elementary, Lambs Elementary, Hursey Elementary, Charleston Development Academy and North Charleston Elementary.
Students will be offered dental exams, haircuts, school supplies and uniforms.
For more information, call (843) 579-4828.
First Day Festival
Charleston will host its 11th annual First Day Festival from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Square near the South Carolina Aquarium and the Charleston Maritime Center.
Event exhibits include free school supplies, educational information, healthy snacks, face-painting, a kids play area, boat rides and tours of the aquarium and Fort Sumter Museum. Families are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the Lowcountry Food Bank.
The event is free and open to the public, and it is organized by the Mayor's Office for Children, Youth and Families.
Getting back into the school routine
1 Help your children feel ready for the first day. Show them where the bus stop is, where to go when they get to school, and where to meet the bus in the afternoon. Make sure they know their bus number, and what they should do if the bus is late or doesn't come at all.
2 Establish bedtimes a few days before school begins. Make bedtime 30 minutes earlier each night until you reach the time you want your children to go to bed. It takes a few days to establish the routine, so at first you may want to let them read until they fall asleep.
3 Preparing ahead makes the mornings smoother. Make lunches, pack bookbags and plan outfits before going to bed at night.
4 Encourage your children to eat a nutritious breakfast. Research has shown that eating in the morning can improve a child's academic performance and psychological well-being. If your kids aren't hungry when they wake up, give them a snack to eat later.
5 Put together an “emergency” pack for the car that includes items like granola bars and hairbrushes for those harried mornings when your child is moving slowly.
6 The first few days of schools always mean clogged Lowcountry roads, so make sure to give yourself some additional travel time when planning your morning schedule.
7 Put the phone number of your child's school and bus info in your cellphone.
What's for lunch?
Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester districts post their breakfast and lunch school menus online.
The following are the websites for each local district:
Dorchester 2: dorchester2.k12.sc.us
Dorchester 4: dorchester4.k12.sc.us
Where's the bus?
Durham Bus Services will publish an insert in today's Post and Courier that provides bus-route information for Charleston County schools. Berkeley operates its own buses.
All three districts also have plenty of information available online, such as the pickup times and locations for individual schools. Charleston County's website (http://bit.ly/Nyw3i6) has a feature where parents can plug in an address to find the nearest bus stop.
Durham Bus Services will have a hotline for Charleston County schools (843) 725-3170 on Monday through Fridays. The hours will be 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. through Aug. 20, and the hours will be extended from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Aug. 21 through Aug. 31. Parents also can e-mail Durham at firstname.lastname@example.org
Berkeley County bus information can be found here: http://bit.ly/133djEl.
Dorchester 2 bus information is here: http://bit.ly/1cxEv1n.
Where can I find education news?
The Post and Courier has a page dedicated to its education coverage: postandcourier.com/education.
To follow reporter Diette Courrege Casey's coverage of Charleston County schools, follow @Diette on Twitter or like her Facebook page, facebook.com/diettecourrege.
To follow reporter Brenda Rindge's coverage of Berkeley and Dorchester schools, follow @brindge on Twitter or like her Facebook page, facebook.com/brindge.
Check out The Post and Courier and postandcourier.com/education for photos and a story about the new school buildings that will be opening to students this fall.
Something you want to know that we didn't answer? Let us know! E-mail email@example.com or call 937-5546.
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