As a new school year approaches, families are crowding stores searching for school supplies. Each year, to make back-to-school shopping easier, Columbia elementary schools and two junior highs distribute lists of school supplies to local Wal-Marts, Targets and Kmarts.
“Having a list means I don’t have to rush,” said Carla Hensley, a mother of three school-aged children, including two in middle school. Although Oakland and Jefferson junior high schools provide supply lists, West Junior High does not. For its opening day, West tells students to bring pens, pencils, notebooks and paper, leaving it to teachers to give students a concise list of required materials.
“If the teacher is going to require something for a particular class they will let the students know at the beginning of the school year,” said Jeff Beiswinger, assistant principal at West Junior High. Beiswinger said that after explaining the logic of the plan, parents generally have no problem with West’s system.
In fact, some parents think the transition from middle school to junior high school marks a change in a student’s responsibility.
“They (the students) are teenagers,” said Anne Schoelz, a West parent. “They should be able to handle it and communicate to their parents exactly what they need.”
Not all parents are at ease with the lack of a list before the first day of school. Resa Hornecker, a parent of two Lange Middle School students, couldn’t imagine life without it.
“Without a list there would be chaos,” Hornecker said. Kim Presko, principal at Oakland Junior High School, said the school provides a list to be more convenient for parents.