As the school year kicks off, it’s a time of change for families across the country. New schedules, friends, teachers, and activities can create a lot of excitement and chaos in your family routine.
Amongst all that hustle and bustle, it’s important not to forget the financial and legal side of things. Here are a few reminders of key things to do to get your family financially and legally set for the school year.
Getting Financially Set for the School Year
Like any other financial area, it’s important to have a budget for school year expenses and a plan on how to stick to them. It’s natural to start with planning for tuition, fees, and school supplies. But don’t forget the extras - school pictures, lunches, uniforms, field trips, yearbooks, and transportation.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on back-to-school shopping, check out these money-saving psychological hacks.
If money is tight, look up the eligibility requirements for assistance in your area. You may be eligible for financial help with school lunches and school supplies. You may be able to get assistance toward tuition and other fees by contacting your school’s administration and asking what help is available. Don’t let restricted finances get in the way of your child’s education.
Getting Legally Set for the School Year
As your family enters another school year, it’s important to think about the situations you may encounter. Whether it’s bullying, disciplinary action or a restructuring of the school district, knowing your rights and responsibilities gives your family a better chance of making it through challenges with a positive outcome.
To start, it’s a great idea to review the rules and policies that your school operates by. Your school district likely has its policies available online. Otherwise, reaching out to the district administration office should get you access to a copy.
First, take a look at the student code of conduct. Understand what’s expected of your child and take note of anything you have questions on or concerns about. It’s best to get these items answered before an issue arises. The last thing you want is your child getting sent home on the first day for an obscure dress code violation!
Next, review any statements of student rights. In particular, many districts now have dedicated sections in their policies about bullying and harassment. Get an understanding of the process for both sides of the equation - what happens if your child is subjected to bullying? What if they are accused of bullying another student? You never know when these issues will arise; and when they do, it’s best to be familiar with the process.
Also, make sure you have clear instructions with your school about emergency contacts and acceptable transportation. If you anticipate that your mother-in-law will pick up your child from school on Tuesdays, let the school know ahead of time. Many districts have policies about transportation due to concerns for child safety.
Finally, get to know your child’s teachers, principals, and other support staff. While the policies are important if an issue escalates, most things can be resolved directly with the people involved in the process. Kindness, respect, and appreciation go a long way in helping ensure a healthy learning environment for your child!