- Foster Care
- August 2, 2023
The summer has been in full swing with so many fun things to do! Vacations, water parks, barbeques, festivals, and the like have been more than ever, making us all feel great about the season. But with the end of summer comes another season… Back to School!
As someone whose parents were both teachers, the start of a new school year meant lots of preparation and careful planning. When I think about when I was a young person, I really enjoyed this time preparing for school. It was fun to get new clothes, shoes, and of course, a new bookbag and school supplies. When I was a kid, the Trapper Keeper was the thing to have if you were going into a new school year, but I never got one. So sad, but I digress. Now kids need a tablet, laptop, or fancy calculator to start the school year and keep up with the digital times.
For a child in foster care, starting school may look a little different (but in some ways the same!), so consider some of these things to get ready:
- Check the school supplies list from the school and check it twice; big box stores are having sales on school supplies; if you can, pick up additional supplies to avoid running and reduce spending more throughout the school year
- Chicago Public Schools have numerous events, including school supplies giveaways, which are happening before school starts. Please check out the dates here.
- One of the best parades that celebrate back to school is the Bud Billiken Parade! The parade will be on Saturday, August 12th. Save the date and grab your lawn chair for a day of family fun!
- Did your child transfer this year to a new school? If so, check to see if the school has different requirements than the previous school.
- Check the school’s handbook to see if there is a dress code.
- Make sure you have a copy of your child’s IEP or 504 plan. If you need a copy, contact the teacher or school case manager. Was there anything that did not get addressed last year about your child’s special education needs? I encourage foster parents to start communicating with the school staff early on in the school year. This is a great time to connect with the school counselor or case manager to address it and get a meeting scheduled before their calendar gets full.
- Schedule a physical exam or vaccination appointment.
- For the college students: Prepare a list of items they need to take with them to school and check if they need help moving to their dorm or apartment. Items to consider are furniture, bedding, clothes, a laptop, toiletries, and creature comforts such as a microwave, coffeemaker, tv, cozy blankets, and slippers.
One thing that happens every year is that teachers spend their own money to buy school supplies to help other children who may not have them. Teachers should not have to supplement what is needed for their students or classroom. If you can help your child’s classroom with supplies, I’m sure their teachers would be very grateful for the support.
There are lots of things to do to prepare for the first day of school, but taking the extra steps to be ready will ensure a successful launch into the school year.
Happy summering, and have an outstanding school year!
Karron Shaw brings 15 years of experience as a child welfare professional to the Let It Be Us staff. She has worked in the child welfare system as a licensing supervisor, director for residential care programs and as a care coordinator and operation manager. Shaw graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor’s Degree and has her Master’s Degree in Child and Family Law from Loyola University Chicago. In addition, Shaw has a great passion for training and onboarding new hires and ongoing training for employees. Shaw is also experienced in the foundational aspects of children in the Illinois child welfare system.
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