Are you ready for school?

I'm certainly not. But it's coming again whether I like it or not. So with that in mind, I thought I'd post some back-to-school stuff.

First, Julie of the National PTA (Parent Teacher Association--this is what we call the groups of parents in each school that support the school here in the US) sent me this:

"Summer breakis here, but PTA is already preparing to help millions of families head back-to-school this fall by conducting a special webcast event. They’re going straight to the source and asking parents across the country how they can help!  This year the PTA is offering a new swing on how parents can ask their questions. Parents now have the unique opportunity of submitting video questions through the PTA You Tube page!

Questions should be kept simple and short.  Remember creativity is a plus!  Questions can be submitted conventionally via e-mail to forum@pta.org OR can be posted as a video question on the PTA YouTube channel (select "Send a Message" in the "Connect with nationalpta" box.  You must have a YouTube account to send a video message). When submitting questions on e-mail or YouTube, the following must be included:

  • Your name,
  • The ages of your children,
  • The name, town, and state of your school and/or PTA,
  • Your e-mail address and phone number, and
  • Subject line: "Back-to-School"

By sending an e-mail or posting a video, you'll be granting PTA the right to publish your response, which may be edited for grammar, length, and/or clarity.

The PTA wants to know your questions! Deadline for submissions are Friday, August 8, 2008. Keep in mind, even if you do not submit a question the PTA still encourages parents to watch the webcast to pick up handy tips on preparing their children for back-to-school! The webcast will be available for viewing starting August 18th. http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=49642
"

So feel free to submit questions, or just go back and watch other people's questions.

Second, an idea I think could really have legs. Were any of you as pissed off as I was to have to run all over the globe looking for exactly the specified school supplies on the list that the teacher handed out the first day of school, especially since you were supposed to bring them in two days later? I don't know how WOH parents were supposed to have the time hunt exactly the right glue sticks down, and I certainly don't know when SAH parents were supposed to. Especially when you're already dealing with all the the back-to-school stuff, from kid tension and fear to new routines.

I was more than annoyed about it, and made many statements to the effect of "We sent people to the Moon almost 40 years ago, so why exactly can't we just order school supplies on the internet??" Well, someone else must have been annoyed by that, too, but they actually did something about it by starting an online store just for school supplies. The idea behind EZSchoolSupplies.com is that schools and teachers can register their supply lists, and then parents can just buy them on the site and have them sent. Plus, the site gives a rebate back to the school in the form of a check or more school supplies. Any public, private, or charter school can participate, as well as any group, organization, or team. (I'm immediately thinking about how this could be used to help underfunded schools in the US or organizations that could give supplies to underfunded groups in other countries..)

As I see it, the only problem with the site is that not enough schools are using it yet. I typed in my zip code, and there are no schools there yet. So I'm going to email the PTA and harass encourage them to use it. If you all can email or call your PTAs to let them know about it, it could end up saving a ton of gas, time, and headaches in school supply shopping, and potentially do some real good for kids. (You can also enter your kid's favorite teacher into the contest to win $1000 in free school supplies on the site.)

What other school-related things are coming up on the horizon for you?