Summer is over, time to go back to school

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Labor Day Weekend just ended and if you are a student or teacher in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) or a parent with students, it means this was the last weekend of summer. On Tuesday, September 6, SDUSD, the second-largest school district in California, resumes classes. Even if you aren’t involved with the district, it will be hard not to notice changes to the surroundings with 132,000 students, from pre-school age to high school, and 6,600 teachers going back to school.

Traditionally, winter is the first season of each year – at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. But for students and teachers, the back-to-school season really kicks off the new year – one which runs from September through June.

Teacher readies for first day

Resolutions in January? Please. That’s mid-year by school standards. It’s all about beginning the school year in the right direction and that means staying up-to-date on the new trends, the new or once-again-present dangers or health risks and the social impacts of summer ending.

As with all seasons, including holiday, the back-to-school season offers new fall trends every year. The National Retail Federation estimates shoppers will spend $22.8 billion during back-to-school shopping and that doesn’t include college shopping, which increases overall spending by an estimated $46 billion.

It has been a year since people went back to school and fashion waits for no one. But for those who don’t feel fully prepared for the start of school and who’s wardrobe is lacking, the fine folks at USA Today put together 12 rules for back-to-school shopping. The first two rules on the list, pre-shop online and shop late, are clearly the most important.

Just like with any shopping excursion, you need to research products and prices online beforehand. With Labor Day Weekend ending and back-to-school sales in full force, preparing ahead of time and looking for the best deals can help save valuable time and money.

That being said, don’t necessarily feel rushed to get to the stores immediately. Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at research specialist NPD Group, said 61 percent of consumers interviewed said they would shop well into September. In addition, Cohen said the kids who wait on back-to-school shopping have a leg up on trends by eying what others wear.

Fashion trends vary depending on an individual’s style, but there are always certain trends that transcend fashion. Generally considered the number one back-to-school accessory, the smart phone has become a must-have for students. Still think the flip-phone is cool? Think again. You have brickbreaker on your phone? That’s ancient, it’s all about angry birds.


Another must-have fashion accessory: new shoes. This year, TOMS casual slip-ons are sweeping the nation as the it shoe. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, male or female, TOMS come in a variety of sizes and colors to match any outfit. And, they’re environmentally friendly.

Feeling comfortable in your clothing is important for most students. That being said, it’s also important to feel comfortable in your body and that means staying healthy. A new school year usually means new germs and illnesses present in classrooms throughout the country. This year, particularly in San Diego County, a new requirement needs to be met by all seventh-12th graders before beginning classes.

Whooping cough, better known as pertussis, affected 1,144 San Diegans last year – giving the illness epidemic status in the county. Signed into law September 2010, Assembly Bill 354 now requires all incoming students in grades 7-12 to show proof of having received the Tdap whooping cough booster shot.

By being confined to classrooms for most of the day, students easily transmit germs. Therefore, preparing for the upcoming cold/flu season is very important at the beginning of the school year.

For those who have no connection with San Diego schools, the new school year still presents some challenges. Those pesky school zones are active once again and though it can be tough keeping the speedometer at 25 when you are late for work in the morning, slowing down is a much better alternative than the tickets cops love to write that can cost $350 or more given the infraction.

It’s not just slowing down in school zones that is important, drivers also must be more cautious of increased traffic on the roads and more pedestrians on sidewalks, including sports teams traveling to or from practice or cross country and track teams running on the sidewalks and roads.

Whether you are a student, teacher, employee or volunteer with SDUSD, or have no affiliation with the school district in general, you will be affected by the beginning of the school year in one way or another. But, like with most things, how you succeed will be strongly related to how much you prepared.

Photos courtesy Bart Everson via FlickR and DanielZanetti via Wikimedia Commons

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