Good news for parents! For the 6th year in a row now, Arlington ISD is set to host their annual Back to School Kickoff on Saturday, August 15th. The event is sponsored by the Gene and Jerry Jones Foundation and is being hosted at the AT&T Stadium. And with the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Texas playing a large role in the way public events are being held, the organizers of this event have planned accordingly to ensure the safety of all volunteers and participants.
In an attempt to limit physical interactions between people and practice social distancing, this year’s event will be run drive-through style, as opposed to in years passed when guests would just walk into the stadium and pick up their supplies. Those looking to take advantage of this opportunity have to register before the event and can do so via the Arlington ISD website. Registrants will be able to choose one of three pick-up time slots between 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM, and to provide more age-appropriate supplies will also be able to choose which grade range each individual student falls under:
- Pre-K – 2nd Grade
- Grades 3rd – 6th
- Grades 7th – 12th
After registering, participants will be emailed with more information about the day of the event, such as where to sign-in on the day of and which lot they will be reporting to. In addition to the school supplies being distributed, parents and guardians will also be given helpful information such as:
- Information for FREE eye, dental and health screenings
- Information about assistance with haircuts and other resources
- Details on FREE immunizations
Arlington ISD students are set to begin the 2020-2021 school year on August 17th, although they have announced recently that as of now, teaching will be done online through September 27th. The school materials being distributed during the Back to School Kickoff will surely be helpful for students during that first month of remote learning, as I’m sure many of us have noticed that it can be difficult to create a productive working environment from our homes without the proper materials. When this past spring semester transitioned to online teaching, I for one learned that I focus better when I take notes with a good old fashioned pen and paper. In fact, a report from The Wall Street Journal on the benefits of taking notes by hand states that “Students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes via computer, researchers at Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles found”. This tells us that even if students have a computer at home to continue their learning remotely, having additional school supplies could make a positive impact on how well our students start the school year.
Teach For America has also written about the stress that having to buy school supplies places on families, stating that “The high cost of school supplies poses a challenge to many parents and impacts students during back-to-school season and beyond”. They go on to mention that the national average of how much parents were expected to spend on back-to-school supplies in 2019 was $696.70. To put it into perspective, a single income household where the parent makes $18/hour and works 40 hours/week comes out to $720 gross income in a week. This means that this parent would work an entire week just to pay for school supplies alone, showing that school expenses pose a greater challenge for low-income households.
With the unfamiliar environment we find ourselves in as a result of COVID-19, it is unclear what the best way is to avoid negatively affecting the youth’s education, without also putting them in situations that could risk their health and that of their family. During this trying time, we can still count on the Arlington community to come together and make great things happen for our leaders of tomorrow.