POTTSTOWN PA – It’s the first day of school. Again.
Doors to the five school buildings in the Pottsgrove School District will officially re-open this morning (Monday, Aug. 27, 2012), ready to accept students for the 2012-2013 academic year. Many things will have changed for some learners as a result of Pottsgrove’s redistricting during recent months. Classrooms, teachers, bus schedules, subjects, even lunch routines will be foreign to certain newcomers, and old hat to others.
Drivers: Slow Down, Be Alert, Watch For Walkers
What hasn’t changed – what can never change, members of the Lower Pottsgrove Township Board of Commissioners said Thursday night (Aug. 23) – is the need to keep children safe. At the end of the board’s second monthly meeting, the commissioners to a man urged drivers in the township to be extra careful and cautious throughout the coming week as youngsters greet their neighbors, crowd the curbs, and pay attention to possibly everything but the passing traffic.
Roughly 13 percent of all school children are likely to walk to school, according to statistics released last week by the American Automobile Association. It warned drivers to be “especially vigilant for pedestrians during before- and after-school hours.” Afternoon hours are particularly dangerous for walking children, it said; during the past decade, nearly a third of child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m.
Drivers should be particularly aware of stop signs, AAA experts added. Vehicles should always come to a complete stop at signs, with motorists checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding. The organization cited research showing that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
Still Unsure Of When And Where Pottsgrove Buses Will Be?
As of Sunday night (Aug. 26) or earlier, bus schedules for Pottsgrove High, Pottsgrove Middle, West and Lower Pottsgrove elementaries, and Ringing Rocks Elementary schools, as well as van schedules for specialty runs, all had been published on the district website. The Post has links to each list, here. Still unpublished when this story was written were bus schedules for district runs to non-public schools.
Monitoring Pottsgrove Students? Save Yourself Time
For this academic year, Pottsgrove is giving parents with several children attending district schools the ability to access each child’s attendance records, homework assignments and class grades from a single sign-on account at its PowerSchool portal. That’s the web-based software being used to keep parents informed of school activities and educational performance. Previously, multiple sign-ons were needed. The Post covered the new system, here.
Pottsgrove Makes Its ‘First-Day Packet’ Available Online
What seems like a ton of paperwork must be delivered to parents, and in some cases completed by them too, for every child attending a Pottsgrove school. There are policies to be explained, regulations to be followed, advisories to be issued. Time was when kids hauled reams of paper home to Mom and Dad on their first day of classes; the Internet has now eliminated most of that load.
The district earlier this month made available online its extensive list of documents known as the “first-day packet.” The Post’s link to it can be found here.
Parents: Check Your Kids’ Backload
Even before they walk out the door, parents can help their students start the school year healthier. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta GA suggests children can avoid lower back pain and injury this school year by following simple backpack safety tips.
- Think light.When fully loaded, your child’s backpack should weigh less than 15 percent of his or her body weight. To help your child know what this weight feels like, use your bathroom scale to measure the right backpack load.
- Strap in. Buy a backpack with two wide, padded straps that go over the shoulders, and ensure your child uses both straps at all times.
- Spread the load. Choose a backpack with a padded waist or chest belt. This distributes weight more evenly across the body. Multiple compartments also help distribute the weight.
- Stay slim. Your child’s backpack should not be wider than his or her body.
- Put ‘em on rollers. Consider a backpack with a metal frame (like hikers use) or on wheels (like a flight attendant’s bag). Check with your child’s school first to see if these types of bags are allowed.
- Clean out. Make sure your child isn’t toting unnecessary items. Laptops, CD players and video games can add a lot of pounds to a backpack. Also, heavier items should be placed closer to the back of the backpack, next to the body.
- Pick up smart. Picking up the backpack properly is important. As with any heavy object, your child should bend at the knees and grab the pack with both hands when lifting it to his or her shoulders.