Back to School!

The school year starts soon−is your child ready? Below are helpful tips to prepare your child for a successful school year.

Vaccinations

California State Law requires students to meet immunizations codes upon starting school. It is important that you check with your child’s health care provider prior to the start of the school year and ensure all of you child’s vaccinations are up-to-date. When your child receives vaccinations, it is important to keep all medical records as proof.

Currently, California State Law allows legal guardians to submit a form that exempts their student from immunizations based on personal belief or medical conditions, but exemption policies are set to change in the next year.

As of July 1, 2016 guardians will no longer be permitted to exempt their student from vaccine requirements unless there is a valid medical reason that is approved by a physician. If guardians file an exemption form prior to January 1, 2016 that exemption will roll over until the next grade span is complete.

Nutrition for a Healthy Mind

Multiple studies have found that students who eat a nutritional diet and don’t skip breakfast perform better in school. If you are financially unable to provide your student with an adequate diet then you may qualify for the State Meal Program.

The State Meal Program is a youth nutrition program funded by the State of California. The program offers free or reduced priced meals to students that qualify. Meals are distributed discretely to prevent others from learning about at home financial hardships. State Meal Program applications can be found at www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/eligmaterials.asp. For further questions, contact the School Nutrition Program Unit at 1 (800) 952-5609.

In addition to the State Meal Program, the CalFresh Program also offers food assistance. The CalFresh Program issues monthly electronic benefits that serve to increase a family’s grocery budget.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Have lived in the country under legal status for at least 5 years, or
  •  Are receiving disability benefits, or
  • Are under 18 years old and are a lawfully-permitted resident

To apply to the CalFresh Program, visit www.cdss.ca.gov. For more information about CalFresh or the California Food Assistance Program, a program that serves legal residents who do not meet the above criteria, call 1 (877) 847-3663.

School Attendance

Attendance is vital for educational success. When students are chronically absent from school they fall dramatically behind, decreasing their chances of graduating or moving on to the next grade level. Having a strong attendance record is the foundation for academic success and a brighter future. Students with higher attendance rates are more likely to succeed on standardized tests, graduate from high school, and attend college.

In addition, California’s education law requires children between the ages of 6 to 18 years of age to attend school with a limited number of absences. A student without a valid excuse, who misses up to three full days of school within a year, or is tardy or absent from class for more than 30 minutes on three occasions in one school year, is considered “truant.” Once a student is “truant” state law requires schools, districts, counties and courts to intervene to ensure that the guardian and student receive services to assist them in complying with education attendance laws.

When these interventions fail, parents can face penalties, such as: community service time, mandatory parenting courses, counseling, fines or even jail time. These interventions and penalties exist to ensure that students remain in school.

Cyber Bullying

Today, bullying doesn’t stop once the school day ends. Modern technology has allowed bullying to occur at anytime or place. It is important that you talk to your child about cyber bullying to ensure they are aware of the repercussions bullying can have on themselves and other students, and make sure your child knows who to talk to if they themselves fall victim to bullying.

Different forms of cyber bullying

Talk to your child and ensure they are aware that any photos or messages they send can be saved and easily shared. Remind them it is important not to share any inappropriate photos or messages that they would not be ok with the whole world seeing. Too often children and teens abuse private messages, which once shared are often difficult or impossible to delete.

The facts about cyber bullying:

  • Cyber bullying messages and images can be posted anonymously.
  • Cyber bullying messages can be distributed rapidly to a wide audience.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult once they have been posted or sent.

Who to contact about cyber bullying:

  • CyberTipline offers services to address sexual exploitation cyberbullying. CyberTipline can be reached at (800) 843-5678
  • Stop Bullying Now hotline offers services that addresses the warning signs of bullying, how to report bullies, and offers help hotline for victims. Stop Bullying Now can be reached at 1 (800) 273-8255.

School Supplies

Your child’s school may provide school supplies, but often times students are required to bring their own supplies, especially as they move higher up in grade level. If your student’s teacher does not provide a course supplies list on the first day of instruction, then you will want to purchase the following supplies for your student:

  • Backpack
  • No.2 pencils
  • Black or Blue Pens
  • Binder and/or folders
  • Binder paper and/or notebooks
  • Erasers

If you need to financially plan out school supplies purchases, contact the teacher or school administration office asking for a materials list in advance. Local non-profits and organizations may also be able to assist you with obtaining school supplies for your child.