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  • School supplies
    • Basics You know you will need paper and pencils, binders, folders, a ruler, and a calculator (if your school allows them). Your school should let you know how much of each item to buy.
    • Specialty items Different teachers will require specific sizes of binders; and map pencils, a compass, and other such supplies will be needed for different classes.
    • Backpack Spend the money to get a good one – wear and tear will take its toll, and buying quality means not having to replace it before the year’s end.
    • Clothes If your school requires uniforms, buy early and have a tailor custom fit them to your child. Find out what regulations apply for hair length, jewelry, and footwear. Don’t forget clothes for PE.
  • Medical
    • Shots Most schools demand a record of all shots be submitted, or else a signed affidavit attesting to a religious conviction exempting the child because of their parents’ beliefs.
    • Physicals A physical is required for most children entering high school – a special physical may be needed for athletes competing in various sports.
    • Prescriptions Any medication your child is on that must be administered during school hours must be submitted to the school nurse along with permission to administer and instructions for dosing.
    • Medical conditions Any disability, medical condition or allergies should be made known to school officials. If severe conditions exist, a medical bracelet is a good idea.
  • Extra expenses
    • Uniforms This applies to students on sports teams, in the band or on the cheer squad.
    • Gear, etc Sports players need equipment, band members need instruments, cheerleaders need pompoms.
    • PTA, etc Parents are expected to contribute in some way, monetarily or with service.
    • Books In some districts, textbooks must be purchased.
    • Lab fees Many high schools have fees for the science lab.
  • Special occasions
    • Field trips Fees for these may be steep, especially for overnight trips. Plan ahead.
    • Pictures Even if you don’t buy the whole package, school portraits are nice to have to chronologically track your child through their school years.
    • Yearbook This is an important commemorative item.
    • School dances Be prepared to shell out for dresses and mums, tuxes and corsages – maybe even a limo.
    • Fundraisers Every school has them – the necessary evil.
  • When school starts
    • Meet and greet Make a point of getting to know the principal, vice principal, secretary, school nurse, counselor, and all of the teachers.
    • Extracurricular Find out what extra programs are offered to further socialize your child.
    • Homework Set strict rules for getting homework done from week one.
    • Rules and regulations Go over the school policy handbook and make sure your child understands what is expected of them, both academically and personally – and consequences for bad behavior.

If you have a teen entering high school, get ready for a rocky ride! Onset of puberty, peer pressure, stress over continual tests and preparation for college can make everyone in the family a little nuts. Teens have to try and remember everything from classroom locations to schedules to locker combinations, while parents try to make sure that their kid has everything he or she needs. There’s not just all the supplies you have to get ahead of time, and the new wardrobe that is sure to be mandatory. There are medical considerations, loads of paperwork, appointments to be made and arrangements for transport, lunches and all the other million and one things so the year gets off to a good start. The following checklist won’t cover every single minute detail that may come up, but it can help teens and parents ready themselves for the move to high school and the preparation for adult life.


Don’t forget all the stuff that will pop up midyear – expenses, extra after class activities that must be crammed into the week, and always more money needed for all types of things that somehow get overlooked until the last minute. Planning ahead can ease the shock of transitioning to high school for child and parent alike, and make the entire school year easier on everyone. Some things will be predetermined by the school – what supplies are needed, for instance, and whether or not uniforms are mandatory. You’ll also need to find out the school’s policy on individuality, and make sure your teen is compliant. This is also the time you need to be paying the most attention, as pressure to engage in behavior that might not be in their best interest. Make sure you schedule time to spend one on one even though their lives are diverging quickly away from your own!

High School Checklist
  Kimberly French

on December 27, 2011

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