It happens every year.
The bus stop has moved. Or someone missed an immunization. Or a student isn't enrolled in the required foreign language class she signed up for last year.
Those wanting to avoid some of those unexpected curveballs on the first day of school should plan on attending the Pasco County Schools' Orientation Days, scheduled Aug. 12 for middle and high school students and Aug. 13 for elementary students. That's when the bulk of those kinds of problems can be ironed out — meaning your youngster won't miss the bus, be sent home for missing that MMR immunization or end up hanging around the guidance office trying to get her schedule straightened out.
Orientation is also just that — particularly for first-time students either entering pre-K or kindergarten or coming to Pasco schools for the first time.
At elementary schools, students and parents have the opportunity to meet teachers, take a school tour, get bus passes, sign up for the school's parent organization or fill out those free and reduced lunch applications. Student fees may also be paid at this time, so be sure to bring your checkbook. Teachers usually have a list of needed school supplies ready and can inform parents on the daily classroom schedule from nap time to lunch time to days when the "specials" — music, art and physical education classes — will be held. This is also a time for parents to let the teacher know whether their child will be walking or riding a bike to school, or if they will be riding by car or bus — essential info, particularly of the first days of school.
At secondary schools, students can check out their class schedule and the list of supplies from each of their teachers. Expect to pay for student fees, that required vocabulary book and, if you want, the discount pre-sale price for the 2008-09 yearbook. Applications for school volunteers, and free and reduced lunch are available. Student parking spaces and lockers are typically assigned on this day.
So go ahead and mark Orientation Day as a must-go on your calendars NOW: Aug. 12 for middle and high schools; Aug. 13 for elementary. For specific times, call the school your child will be attending.