Parents, teachers making final preparations for start of school year

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some students in the Mid-South, like in DeSoto County, are already back in the swing of the school year, but others are savoring one last weekend of summer before the school year kicks off Monday.

Districts including Shelby County, Germantown, Collierville and Arlington Schools all start next week.

Just as parents are making last-minute preparations, teachers are doing what they can to prepare for students to arrive.

Melba Seaborn, a fourth grade teacher at Oak Forest Elementary School in southeast Memphis, is ready to let a new class full of fourth grade students unpack, and not just their supplies, but also their nerves.

“The first day is very jittery for the children but is also for us, too,” Seaborn said.

Seaborn is a 10-year teaching veteran. Oak Forest is one of more than 200 Shelby County schools welcoming students enrolled already for the new year starting Monday.

According to SCS officials, they had around 7,200 new students who registered for school as of Friday morning and approximately 94,950 students enrolled at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

Due to a new SCS policy, returning students do not have to re-enroll this year.

“We have a journey for the entire school year, so we want to make sure students are welcomed into school, and parents feel supported,” said Wendi Sutton, an SCS pre-K teacher.

For parents with children starting Monday, there are some important things to know.

Parents with students new to the district have to do the most; children need to have a physical and certain vaccines. The district has two health centers where parents and students can get those done. Call 901-531-6321 to make an appointment at one of the health clinics or visit your local health department.

Also, if your child plans to ride a bus, you should sign up online.

And if a child has special health needs, there is an online program called CareDox where parents can make an account and put in all the necessary information.

Teachers also are setting their desks, making those final preparations.

“I am unpacking, decorating and organizing and getting everything labeled for my students,” Sutton said.

“We want to make sure they come in the first day engaged with learning; get them started so they can have a great year,” Seaborn said. “We want to make the first day count.”

If you’re looking for one last way to savor summer, the Shelby County district is having its annual Back to School Block Party on Saturday at the Board of Education on Hollywood near the Fairgrounds. Everything is free, and it will last from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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