One needn’t be a rocket scientist, or even an aspiring one, to know that the school year is at hand.
The evidence is everywhere. Most conspicuous are the throngs in the aisles of school supplies in the big box stores. Armed with lists that vary by grade — the stores know what parents will need — parents, often with kids in tow, toss one item after another into shopping carts.
And school supplies include a lot more than pencils, paper, crayons, tissue, calculators, notebooks and countless other items. As often as not, school supplies also include clothes, backpacks and other personal items so when the first day arrives, kids won’t just be ready, they’ll feel ready.
As for the first day of classes, it will be Aug. 14 — a week from Wednesday — in the Manhattan-Ogden and Wamego school districts. Classes in the Riley County and Rock Creek school districts will begin Aug. 15. The first day traditionally is a half-day, which will give those students who are eager for school a taste of what’s to come and will soften the blow for those who’d rather be elsewhere.
Teachers, or most of them, anyway, have already started. They’ve been putting their classrooms together and tending to a thousand and one details to be ready for students. In Manhattan, teachers’ official duty days begin Thursday and Friday. On Friday, there will be a districtwide convocation for faculty and staff in USD 383.
A new school year means new routines for thousands of families. Savvy parents haven’t limited their preparation to compiling back-to-school supplies. They’ve been adjusting bedtimes for young children, and for elementary school children who live close enough to school to walk, accompanying them — and friends — on walks to and from school to ease the stress of getting there and back. Other families have bus schedules and bus stops to learn.
This summer, as most summers do, has raced by. We hope it’s contained its share of constructive activities. And we hope it’s offered activities best enjoyed in the summer — afternoons at the pool and athletic fields or fishing at the lake; evenings spent chasing lightning bugs or playing flashlight tag in the neighborhood or just peering at the night sky.
We hope area children from preschool to high school are ready for another school year, one that promises its own constructive activities as well as plenty of moments to enjoy. Ready or not, here it comes.