Back-To-School Checklist for Parents | U.S. Department of Education (2023)

Back-To-School Checklist for Parents

Helping to Ensure American Rescue Plan Funds Make a Difference for Your Students and Community

The Biden-Harris Administration’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided states and school districts with $130 billion to help students recover, succeed, and thrive. Schools across the country are using ARP funds to safely remain open for in-person learning, to help students grow academically, and to support students’ mental health needs. States and school districts are required to engage with families as they make decisions about using these funds and parents and families should talk with their local leaders about whether students’ needs are being met.

Below is a checklist you can use to ask school leaders during back-to-school and beyond about how they are supporting students, including by using ARP funds. The strategies in this checklist are ones that support students’ learning, mental health, and overall well-being.

While not all school leaders and teachers may know how specific programs at their school are funded, they can tell you if these effective strategies are in place.

Student Learning

Every school district must spend at least 20 percent of its ARP funding on activities to address the pandemic’s effects on learning. But many districts are spending well more than this amount.

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President Biden has specifically called on states and districts to use ARP funds to ensure schools have enough teachers and staff, provide tutoring and mentoring, and expand high-quality summer and afterschool programs. These strategies support greater learning and well-being as students recover from the pandemic.

  • Ensure Students Have the Educators They Need: Districts and schools can spend ARP funds to ensure students have the teachers they need and address the teacher shortage. Districts should use funds to attract, support, and retain excellent teachers and reduce class sizes, as well as hire other staff, like reading and math specialists, and paraprofessionals. Districts can also use funds to train educators to better support students’ academic recovery and mental health, including to better meet the needs of students with disabilities and English learners.
  • Provide High-Quality Tutoring: Access to high-quality, high-impact tutoring can be a game-changer for students as they progress in reading, math, and other subjects. Research has shown that high-quality tutoring programs can help students gain five months of additional learning. The best programs provide tutoring three times per week, for 30 minutes each day, and use teachers and well-trained volunteers. With ARP funds, and through the National Partnership for Student Success, schools can provide effective tutoring for students who need it. To learn more, visit the National Partnership for Student Success website.
  • Expand Afterschool and Summer Programs: ARP funds can be used to support after school and summer learning and enrichment programs, and other programs that operate outside of the normal school day, like internships for older students, that can get students more engaged in learning. Programs that occur before or after the regular school day or outside of the regular school week or year (such as summers, Saturdays, or holidays) help build engagement and strengthen social, emotional, and academic skills and outcomes. They also help build interest and spark learning in areas that students love. Through the ARP, school districts, cities, and states have unprecedented, dedicated funding to extracurricular activities, including afterschool programs, vacation academies, work-based learning programs, youth development programs, and experiential or service-learning programs. For more information, see the Department’s Engage Every Student website.

Addressing the Needs of the Whole Child

  • Support Mental Health: ARP funds can be used to help increase access to mental health services. Schools should have a strong team of professionals, such as school counselors, school psychologists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, school social workers, or other qualified support specialists. For more information related to supporting the mental health needs of students with ARP Funds, see the Department’s fact sheet.
  • Provide Wraparound Supports to Students: ARP funds can also help schools provide wraparound supports to students such as bringing services like health services into the school building. ARP funds can also be used to hire staff to coordinate these supports. One model of support is called “community schools.” Community schools provide many wraparound supports to students and their families, including both physical and mental health services, nutrition support, afterschool programs, and adult education opportunities. ARP funds can also be used to help schools adopt this model.

COVID-19 Health and Safety

  • Vaccine Clinics: Schools can use ARP funds to host vaccine clinics for students, staff, families and the community. Vaccines are available now to nearly all Americans, and schools can make it easy to provide access to first, second, and booster COVID shots – as well as other vaccines – so people stay healthy and students can stay in school.
  • Clean Air: Clean air is essential for living and learning, and effective ventilation can help prevent COVID-19 and other illnesses. ARP funds can support better ventilation; upgrades to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems; new air conditioners and fans; repairs to windows and doors, that let fresh air into school buildings; increased heating or cooling costs; as well as other public health protocols.
  • Testing: Free COVID-19 tests are available to schools, and $10 billion in dedicated funding has also been provided to states to help schools to set up testing programs and services. Schools can stock nurse’s offices with COVID-19 tests so parents, families, students, and teachers can have peace of mind when a child presents with symptoms, following outbreak or exposure, or at any other time schools administer COVID-19 testing.

Engaging Families

  • Increasing Parent and Family Involvement in Education: Schools can use ARP funds to hire parent engagement coordinators who connect the school and families. Schools can also use ARP funds to conduct home visits or other engagement activities, that reconnect students with school or engage families in their child’s learning.

States and school districts are required to post their plans for ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, sometimes referred to as ESSER III, online. Districts should communicate to your community how they are spending these funds through multiple channels. Parents and community members can access their state’s plan, and many district plans, through this U.S. Department of Education map. If your school district’s plan is not linked on the Department of Education map or easy to find on your district’s website, contact your school district for its ARP spending plan.

As you learn about the programs that your school community offers, it may be helpful to consider strong examples of how ARP funds are delivering supports for students across the country. Together, we can all work to ensure ARP funds provided by the Biden-Harris administration continue to deliver for our nation’s students.

Academics

  • Guilford County Schools in North Carolina allocated nearly $10 million of its federal relief funds, including from ARP, for a high-dosage tutoring program. Students are identified based on factors such as grades, test data, course failures, and absenteeism. To strengthen the tutoring program, the district is partnering with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a historically Black college. In the 2021-2022 school year, more than 420 tutors provided a total of nearly 67,000 hours of tutoring.
  • The Arkansas Department of Education launched a Tutoring Corps in October 2021 using more than $4 million in ARP funding. This two-and-a-half-year, in-person program is recruiting, training, and paying qualified tutors to support students’ academic needs. Training for tutors includes how to teach math and reading and how to build positive relationships with students. So far, over 700 tutors have provided more than 15,400 hours of tutoring.
  • Aurora Public Schools in Colorado is spending $35 million in ARP funds to address academic recovery, through programs such as tutoring at every school in the district and summer school. During the 2021-2022 school year, the district provided more than 168,600 hours of tutoring to over 8,100 students. In summer 2022, over 3,500 students in grades K-12 participated in the district’s summer school program.
  • Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky used ARP funds to open the first of three student support centers. Each center is staffed by retired teachers who provide targeted support to students who were chronically absent during the pandemic. In total, Jefferson County intends to allot $35 million of ARP funding to student learning centers and community learning hubs.

Mental Health and Supports for the Whole Child

  • Santa Fe Public Schools in New Mexico is focusing on the mental health and wellness of students and staff. The district is using federal relief funds to expand the district’s existing restorative justice program, hire additional school psychologists, and expand school counselor programming.
  • The New York City Department of Education used ARP funds to hire 500 new social workers. These social workers will provide critical supports to students that benefit them inside and outside the classroom.
  • Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota is spending almost $13 million in ARP funds to support the mental health and wellness of students and staff. This approach includes: hiring 32 additional counselors, social workers, and psychologists; partnering with community organizations to offer mental health support for students; training staff on how to handle trauma; and creating calming spaces for staff and students.
  • The Mississippi Department of Education is using more than $17 million in ARP funds to provide on-demand health care and expand access to care during school hours. In partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, school nurses in four districts—Pearl, McComb, Quitman, and Yazoo Counties—have been trained to use telehealth technology and are helping provide telehealth services, including mental health, urgent care, and specialty care. By November 1, 2022, the state plans to bring telehealth services to 30 additional school districts.

Addressing the Teacher Shortage

  • The Iowa Department of Education is spending more than $45 million in ARP funds to create a program to train 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers. Starting this school year, the program will help current high school students and adults to earn a paraeducator certificate and associate degree. The program also will support paraeducators to earn a bachelor’s degree and their teaching license, all while learning and working in the classroom.
  • The Puerto Rico Department of Education is using ARP funds to increase the salaries of teachers by $1,000 per month to address the long-standing challenge of significant teacher shortages. This represents a 26 percent increase for educators in that region, where the average teacher salary is only $2,750 per month.
  • The Tennessee Department of Education is using $20 million in ARP funding to train more teachers. The state established a permanent grow your own model with Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University’s teacher residency program, becoming the first registered teaching apprenticeship program in the country. Building on this model, the Tennessee Department of Education launched the first round of grow your own initiatives to strengthen the teacher pipeline through partnerships between educator preparation programs and 63 school districts.

Health and Safety

  • Gaston County Schools in North Carolina used ARP funds to double nursing staff and secure a nurse for each of their 54 school locations, so that nurses no longer have to split their time between two buildings.
  • Houston Independent School District in Texas is using $34 million in ARP funds to install air filtration systems in spaces that did not have systems in all buildings across the district, including in classrooms, lunchrooms, and nurses’ offices. The district has invested additional resources—almost $83 million—to improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in the 20 schools most in need of repairs. The district also has invested $12 million in safety, including masks, cleaning supplies, and other equipment for students, teachers, and staff.
  • Detroit Public Schools in Michigan plans to spend $700 million, including ARP funds, to improve facilities. These improvements include upgrading and repairing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Today, only 35 percent of school buildings have working air conditioning. When the project is complete, 95 percent of school buildings will have working air conditioning.
  • Denver Public Schools in Colorado is spending $25 million in ARP funds to improve ventilation and air quality. These efforts include installing about 800 air quality sensors in classrooms and providing digital controls for schools’ heating and ventilation systems. The district also is repairing and replacing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning components, such as exhaust fans and boilers; building more outdoor classroom structures; and upgrading school air filters.
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FAQs

What is a parent checklist? ›

The checklist includes questions and resources that parents and caregivers can use to help ensure their children are getting the education they deserve. It suggests key questions, tips for educational success, and resources for more information.

How parents can prepare for back to school? ›

Preparing for Back-to-School Success
  • Set Boundaries.
  • Communicate with teachers.
  • Get your child organized.
  • Settle into routines.
  • Ease anxiety about an unusual school year.
  • Schedule family time.
29 Aug 2021

How will you prepare your checklist before going to school? ›

Back to School Prep Checklist
  • Know Your State & School District's Action Plan. ...
  • Make Sure Kids Know Safety Guidelines. ...
  • Check-In With The Pediatrician. ...
  • Pick Up Supplies. ...
  • Start the School Routine Early. ...
  • Set Up a Study Spot. ...
  • Make a List of Meal Ideas. ...
  • Be Prepared to Go Virtual.

How do I start a school checklist? ›

Get a Head Start on Classroom Organization
  1. Gather and organize classroom materials and supplies.
  2. Prepare student name tags and/or student desk plates.
  3. Organize your files.
  4. Label all furniture in the classroom.
  5. Create an emergency substitute folder.
  6. Label textbooks, workbooks, and supplies.
  7. Set up your grade book.

How can I be a good parent checklist? ›

The 'five-a-day' parenting checklist
  1. Read to your child for 15 minutes. ...
  2. Play with your child on the floor for 10 minutes. ...
  3. Talk with your child for 20 minutes with the television off. ...
  4. Adopt positive attitudes towards your child and praise them frequently. ...
  5. Give your child a nutritious diet to aid development.

How do you evaluate parent involvement? ›

Parent engagement can be measured in various ways; through parent surveys and questionnaires, measurements of attendance counts at family-school events, and assessments of the number and quality of these events carried out in a school year or at each school.

What do I say on the first day of school? ›

I wish you a lot of happiness and joy on the very first day of your school. Enjoy your day with your full energy and make sweet memories. Best of luck!
...
First Day of School Quotes
  • You are in a phase of learning and at the best place to do it. ...
  • Welcome! ...
  • Happy school time, have a great day and wait for the surprises.
19 Aug 2022

What does a year 1 need for school? ›

In Year 1, children will: need to count forwards and backwards up to 100. need to know their addition and subtraction facts to 20. start to learn about times tables through the use of simple multiplication and division problems, for which they will be given objects to help them work out what is being asked.

What do teachers do the week before school starts? ›

These could be things such as lining up, introducing a seating plan, giving out classroom jobs etc. You may need to allow more time for things such as tidying up or transitioning around the school, at least at first until you and your new class get to know what to expect from each other.

What should a 5 year old know before starting school? ›

There are certain skills your child will benefit from having before they enter kindergarten. Think about language and math skills. You should consider whether your child can use sentences, recite the alphabet, recognize their own name, and count from one to ten, says Dr. Bravo.

How do I prepare my 4 year old for school? ›

Sing, read, and talk about the alphabet. Talk about colors and shapes.
...
Social-Emotional/Behavior:
  1. Let your child play! ...
  2. Read books about kindergarten or going to school and talk about them together.
  3. Encourage independence throughout the day. ...
  4. Encourage consistent hygiene skills like washing hands before and after meals.

How do I prepare my child for reception? ›

5 tips to help your child get ready for Reception
  1. Being confident about school. Perhaps the most important 'skill' is to separate from parents and accept school as a fun, exciting and engaging place to be. ...
  2. Managing their own needs. ...
  3. Being responsible. ...
  4. The ability to focus. ...
  5. Encouraging thinking skills.

What are the 10 responsibilities of a parent? ›

Your duties and rights as a parent
  • to protect your child from harm.
  • to provide your child with food, clothing and a place to live.
  • to financially support your child.
  • to provide safety, supervision and control.
  • to provide medical care.
  • to provide an education.
22 Sept 2020

What is the best parenting style? ›

Why experts agree authoritative parenting is the most effective style. Studies have found that authoritative parents are more likely to raise confident kids who achieve academic success, have better social skills and are more capable at problem-solving.

How do I know if I am a good mom? ›

15 Signs You're Doing Motherhood Right
  • The kids smile about 90 percent of the time. ...
  • They share with others. ...
  • You aren't afraid to issue a time-out. ...
  • They say please and thank you without being told. ...
  • You put their need to eat, bathe, and sleep before your own. ...
  • They would rather cry on your shoulder than into a tissue.
25 Jul 2019

What are the 3 benefits of parent involvement? ›

The parents involved in their children's learning process also benefit in that: They understand their child's emotional and intellectual needs better. They gain confidence in their parenting capabilities. The parent learns their children's development stages and how to use positive reinforcement for each stage.

What is the role of parents in education? ›

The Role of Parents in Education

Parents have been known to be a child's first teacher from the moment a child is born and as they mature into adults, the traditional role of parents involve teaching, guiding, and raising children to become strong standing members of their communities.

How does parent involvement lead to student success? ›

Parental involvement not only enhances academic performance, but it also has a positive influence on student attitude and behavior. A parent's interest and encouragement in a child's education can affect the child's attitude toward school, classroom conduct, self-esteem, absenteeism, and motivation.

How do you handle the first day of school? ›

10 Tips for the First Day of School
  1. Greet every student warmly. ...
  2. Use a seating chart, at least for the first week or so. ...
  3. Save the rules for the second day. ...
  4. Don't be afraid to share something about yourself. ...
  5. Post the daily schedule as prominently as possible. ...
  6. Explain the space. ...
  7. Find a good ice-breaking activity.
4 Aug 2021

What are the best tips for studying? ›

Studying 101: Study Smarter Not Harder
  • Reading is not studying. Simply reading and re-reading texts or notes is not actively engaging in the material. ...
  • Understand the Study Cycle. ...
  • Spacing out is good. ...
  • It's good to be intense. ...
  • Silence isn't golden. ...
  • Problems are your friend. ...
  • Reconsider multitasking. ...
  • Switch up your setting.

How do you calm a crying child? ›

Rock the baby, hold the baby close or walk with the baby. Stand up, hold the baby close and repeatedly bend your knees. Sing or talk to the baby in a soothing voice. Gently rub or stroke the baby's back, chest or tummy.

Why do parents cry on the first day of school? ›

“We cry when we're overwhelmed with emotions, right? And it's a real mix of emotions with kindergarten — fear, excitement, anxiety and loss,” Connecticut-based psychologist Barbara Greenberg tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It's a loss of a really important stage in which parents are really necessary.

What do you say to your child on the first day of school? ›

Congratulations on your first day at high school! Hope you have lots of fun, make great friends, and knuckle down with your studies.

Why is the first day of school so important? ›

In addition to making a strong first impression, the first day of class offers the opportunity to: Build a learning-centered community by getting to know more about each other. Dive into content and set the pace for the rest of the semester. Define clear expectations and goals for the course.

How do you introduce yourself to your students for the first time? ›

30 Unique Ways To Introduce Yourself to Students This Year
  1. Do a Teacher Feature on school social media. ...
  2. Send postcards to introduce yourself. ...
  3. Show them a slideshow. ...
  4. Introduce yourself with a quiz. ...
  5. Use a student-created brochure. ...
  6. Decorate a Bitmoji virtual classroom. ...
  7. Build a word cloud. ...
  8. Make a photo book to introduce yourself.
22 Jun 2022

How do you introduce yourself to a teacher? ›

How to Introduce Yourself as a Teacher with Students - YouTube

How can a mom work and go to school? ›

Going Back To School For A Working Mom Is Not Impossible
  1. Figure Out A Schedule. ...
  2. Track How You Are Using Your Time. ...
  3. Motivation Is Going To Be Hard. ...
  4. Reward Yourself And Include Your Children. ...
  5. Get Everyone Involved. ...
  6. Do Not Be Too Hard On Yourself. ...
  7. Have A Designated Study Spot In And Out Of The Home. ...
  8. Research Your Career.
23 Oct 2017

How can a mother balance work and school? ›

10 Tips for Balancing Parenting, Work, and School
  1. Dedicate time to updating the calendar. ...
  2. Designate “schoolwork time” ...
  3. Let your professors know you are busy. ...
  4. Ask for help. ...
  5. Prep meals in advance. ...
  6. Create an organized and dedicated study space. ...
  7. Review course syllabus and plan ahead. ...
  8. Write clear and realistic goals.
15 Jul 2021

How can I be successful in back to school? ›

12 Study Tips for Back to School
  1. You don't need ONE study space. ...
  2. Track more than HW in your school planner. ...
  3. Start small. ...
  4. School supplies (alone) don't make you organized. ...
  5. Get into a routine. ...
  6. Learn how to create a distraction-free zone. ...
  7. Get real. ...
  8. Use class time wisely.

How can a mother and student balance? ›

Six Tips to Help You Balance School and Kids
  1. Make a Schedule. It is best to set a schedule for coursework. ...
  2. Create a To-Do-List. Writing a daily to-do list is very helpful in eliminating stress. ...
  3. Set Attainable Goals. ...
  4. Ask for Help. ...
  5. Make a Work Space. ...
  6. Take Study Breaks.
8 Dec 2021

How do I go back to work after being a stay at home mom? ›

9 tips for re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent
  1. Uncover what you really want. ...
  2. Update your materials. ...
  3. Refresh your skills. ...
  4. Get active on social sites. ...
  5. Call on your network and make new connections. ...
  6. Look at all of your options. ...
  7. Practice and prepare. ...
  8. Talk up your gap years.

Is it worth going back to school? ›

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)56.6% of employers screen candidates by their GPA. Going back to college is not only an opportunity to earn your degree, but also to improve your GPA and stand out to top employers.

How can I be a good mom if I work full time? ›

13 Ways Working Moms Can Balance Work and Family (And Be Happy)
  1. Let go of the mom guilt. ...
  2. Use time saving hacks. ...
  3. Find childcare providers that you trust. ...
  4. Maintain open communication with your manager. ...
  5. Reduce distractions and time wasters. ...
  6. Reconnect with your partner. ...
  7. Create special and meaningful family activities.

How do you raise a child when both parents work? ›

13 Tips for Balancing Work and a New Baby
  1. Set up a family calendar.
  2. Find good child care and have a healthy relationship with your caregiver.
  3. Divide and conquer.
  4. Have a backup babysitter in place.
  5. Make your mornings as easy as possible.
  6. Get the support you need at work.
  7. Get baby to bed.
  8. Simplify dinner.

How do you handle the first day of school? ›

10 Tips for the First Day of School
  1. Greet every student warmly. ...
  2. Use a seating chart, at least for the first week or so. ...
  3. Save the rules for the second day. ...
  4. Don't be afraid to share something about yourself. ...
  5. Post the daily schedule as prominently as possible. ...
  6. Explain the space. ...
  7. Find a good ice-breaking activity.
4 Aug 2021

How do I start school seriously? ›

How To Become a Straight A Student
  1. Manage your time in 5 minutes each day. ...
  2. Always have a plan. ...
  3. Be organized. ...
  4. Take care of your physical health. ...
  5. Don't cram — instead, use a periodic review system. ...
  6. Form a homework group. ...
  7. Set up a distraction-free study area. ...
  8. Clarify your doubts immediately.

What does back to school mean? ›

In merchandising, back to school is the period in which students and their parents purchase school supplies and apparel for the upcoming school year. At many department stores, back to school sales are advertised as a time when school supplies, children's, and young adults' clothing goes on sale.

How do you handle school and work at the same time? ›

7 Smart tips to manage working full time and going back to school
  1. Create a schedule and stick to it. ...
  2. Protect your study time. ...
  3. Leverage your natural internal clock. ...
  4. Make good use of your PTO. ...
  5. Make smart to-do lists. ...
  6. Fuel your brain and body. ...
  7. Take some (or only) online classes.

How do you balance a family study? ›

Here are some tips on how to balance college and work without compromising family and other demands.
  1. Plan Ahead. ...
  2. Stay On Schedule. ...
  3. Build a Support System. ...
  4. Focus On Your Goals. ...
  5. Multitask. ...
  6. Set Boundaries—For School And Family Life. ...
  7. Ask For Help When Needed. ...
  8. Break The Routine Once In A While.

How do you balance being a parent? ›

  1. Prioritize Well-Being.
  2. Create Clear Boundaries And Honor Your Word.
  3. Sensibly Involve Your Children.
  4. Remember Balance Doesn't Happen Every Day.
  5. Stop Before You Step In The Door.
  6. Control Your Calendar, Don't Let It Control You.
  7. Be 100% At All Times.
  8. Schedule Tasks Accordingly.
11 Dec 2017

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