Orientation is a must-go event for students and parents — or at least it should be for first timers and those wanting to avoid the unforeseen glitches that might pop up and mar that first day of school.
That's when you might find out that your child's immunizations aren't up-to-date, the bus stop pickup time has changed, or that required English class isn't on your high school student's schedule.
Pasco County schools' orientation is Aug. 18 for middle and high school students and Aug. 19 for elementary school students. Call your school for the times; if your schedule is flexible, ask what time things typically slow down so you can avoid the long lines.
First and foremost for everyone: Bring your emergency contact information, as you'll be filling out those all-important index cards.
Middle and high school students can expect to pick up their school schedules, bus passes and a list of required school supplies from each of their teachers. Bring your checkbook to pay for that required vocabulary book and any student fees. Some schools offer the option of paying for the school yearbook at the presale price and an "opt out" one-time donation you make if you would rather not participate in any catalogue fundraisers during the coming year.
Parking spaces and lockers are usually assigned. Volunteer forms and applications for free and reduced-price meals are also available. Often there are information tables on various school clubs your student might want to join, as well as the school's parent-teacher organization.
Elementary students typically get to meet their new teacher, get their student supply lists and take a brief tour of the school. This is when you can find out about the classroom schedule: from lunch time to nap time to what day your student will have PE, music and art classes. Be prepared to pay any required fees and let the teacher know whether your child will be a bus or car rider, or walk or bike to school.
This is also a good time to sign up for the school's parent-teacher organization, the after-school PLACE program as well as fill out volunteer forms and applications for free and reduced-price meals. Those meal forms must be resubmitted even if you or your child were eligible for the programs during the last school year.