The couch by the front door at my house is buried under backpacks, kleenex boxes, notebooks and new shoes.
Checks have been written for school lunches, assignment books and extracurricular activities. (I'd like to suggest that the school allow for parents to have their August paychecks direct-deposited at the school, but we'll save that conversation for later.)
Immunization records have been reviewed and checkups completed. The bus schedule and school calendar are taped to the fridge. The countdown to the first day of school is now under a week.
As my children say, "Woot-woot!!"
This is one of the most exciting times of the year, even for those who don't have children in the school system.
And much effort has gone into making sure the start of the new year goes smoothly.
So, for the moment, the school year is about promise and potential. There is so much to learn and so much to do in the coming nine months for students, teachers and parents alike.
Now, next week may be an entirely different story, as the routine become familiar, the excitement of the new year wears off and the homework begins.
Then, we're back to dealing with the myriad issues that are part of the business of education.
First and foremost are the funding issues. Schools across the state are facing critical decisions on how to pay for the kind of education our students deserve.
The Morris Area School Board has already decided that a levy referendum will be held in the next year. The timing on the election is deliberate and they plan to spend some time educating the community about the district's needs.
I agree with their decision and I hope that voters will take this opportunity to learn more about their school district before they step into a voting booth and decide on a referendum.
Our community schools are just that--the community's effort to foster the business of learning and growing. It is how this community prepares our children for the future. It is an intricate combination of great teachers, prudent administrators and board members, engaged parents, serious students and benevolent local taxpayers.
So, in order to reap the benefits of this system, we need to be involved. We need to attend the band, choir and theatre performances as well as the football, volleyball and cross country events.
We need to attend a school board meeting and see first hand how challenging these times are for the business of education.
We need to visit with the teachers, principals and superintendent about our questions and concerns, rather than relying on the coffee shop talk about the situation.
In short, we need to set an example for our children by getting educated about our schools and our role as community within it.