The 2018-2019 school year starts Aug. 22, and Fort Jackson's elementary schools are getting ready. Educators on post are preparing students, parents and community members for back-to-school time.

Pierce Terrace Elementary School principal Raymond Burk and C.C. Pinckney Elementary School Principal Theresa Harvey have a few recommendations for parents to facilitate the transition.

"Some students can have a healthy anxiety about what to expect from a new teacher, a new grade level, or a new school," Harvey said. Parents can do a few things to ease their fears.

The key is to "get started now" with a sleep schedule for the school year, Burk said.

Bedtimes and wake-up times should be set as close to what they will be on weekdays as possible. Otherwise "it's going to be a shock" when they go back.

Preparing students' schedules at least a week in advance is a tip he gives every year in the back-to-school newsletter.

"Switching from a summer schedule can be stressful," Harvey agreed. She too recommends implementing the school routine a few days before the year begins.

Plan ahead before the year gets busy, Harvey suggested. Think about where and when homework will be completed. Place school events on the calendar during the summer.
Inform the school nurse of a child's allergies "as soon as possible," she said.

Buying school supplies ahead of time is also important.

"It's best to prepare before school now," Burk said. A small backpack is perfect for Pierce Terrace students. "We don't load them up with books."

The school supply lists can be obtained from the registrar or school website.

Giving kids a positive outlook on the year is of great benefit. Parents should tell their youngsters the good things that will happen, Burk advised.
"Prepare them in a positive way," he said. He suggested a few lines they can use.

He said to tell the kids that they'll be able to "work with a lot of friends in (their) classroom." Let them know that they're "going to learn so much about books and stories … new ways to do math."

This can help get elementary school students on board with the change, he said.

To make the transition easier -- especially for those new to post -- both he and Harvey highly recommend attending the "Sneak-a-Peek" Aug. 21.

"The 'Sneak-a-Peek' is so important," Burk said. It gives students the opportunity to meet their teachers, find their classrooms and drop off their school supplies. He said the goal is for students to "have a familiar face and a familiar route" for the next day.

Harvey advises parents to walk around the school with their young scholars that day. She recommends that parents of first-year students schedule a tour.

Harvey says bringing school supplies Aug. 21 is helpful. That way, students don't have to lug them around their first day.

For parents of Fort Jackson newbies, Burk has another suggestion.

"Get involved," Burk said. Take the kids to sites on post like the library and swimming pool to meet new people. Attend events like the color run. That way, they'll have friends and be comfortable before Aug. 22 rolls around.

Harvey said parents should ultimately relax and trust in the district to take care of their kids. She recommends they consider becoming school volunteers if they want to get more involved.