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Back to the routine

August 19, 2002|by DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

Of course, there are pens and pencils to buy.

But when preparing for the new school year, parents and students also need to think about getting back into a school frame of mind.

Getting ready for the return of early mornings and exercising students' brains in the final weeks of summer are among the suggestions from Tri-State area school officials for making the transition from vacation to school easier.

"We have a real problem with children who don't get enough sleep," said Peggy Miller, personnel director for Morgan County, W.Va., public schools.

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Start the school routine of getting up early, said Martha Roulette, director of student services for Washington County Public Schools.

Eric Michael, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District, suggested students start going to bed and waking up earlier two weeks before school starts.

Children from kindergarten age to 12 years old need up to 10 hours of sleep a night, and teens need up to nine hours of sleep a night, Miller said.

"In August, we try to have him going to bed and getting up at the same time as in school so he's not sleeping until 10," Ginger Van Iderstine said of her 14-year-old son.

"It makes going back to school a little bit easier," Van Iderstine said.

"Usually, we start to go to bed a little earlier," said 12-year-old Justin Moats, a student at Clear Spring Middle School.

School officials also said that if students haven't been reading all through the summer, they should start reading again as school approaches.

"Reading gets students to start using their minds again," Michael said.

Moats' mother, Ruthie Moats, said she has Justin's younger brothers practice writing sentences and do some spelling exercises during the final weeks of summer vacation.

"It gets them thinking again," she said. "Summer's a good break, but they forget some things."

Michael also said parents should talk with their children about setting academic and extracurricular goals for the coming school year.

During the summer, some teens take on heavy work schedules, which should be trimmed for the school year, Miller said.

For students entering school for the first time or changing schools in the coming school year, parents should contact the school district to make sure their children are registered, school officials said. Doing this early rather than waiting until school starts can save time and headaches, they said.

Most of all, with summer vacation coming to an end around the end of August in the Tri-State area, Roulette said parents should "make sure the kids enjoy the rest of summer."

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