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10 Things To Consider Before Your Child Goes Back To School

The numbers tell it all--Santa Clarita schools back in session

As summer ends and stores heavily promote sales, parents buy loads of supplies hoping to help prepare their children for the new school year. In the rush to purchase crayons, rulers and pencils, one fact that is too often overlooked is that a child's future is impacted by choices made today. Parents can make a tremendous difference in their child's academic success by looking at the numbers.

$7.6 billion --The amount of money spent in August 2008 at family clothing stores. As you shop for those back-to-school clothes, new shoes, backpacks, and school supplies, look for bargains. Outlet stores often provide great clothing sales, while retail stores like Target and Wal-Mart generally provide good sales on school supplies. Searching for used books in good condition and purchasing them online can save hundreds of dollars.

56 million -- The projected number of students to be enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade this fall in the US.
With budget cuts causing a reduction in the number of teachers, classroom sizes will increase, making it more difficult for children to receive individual attention. Prepare your child for the environment change. Talk with your kids about choosing wise friends and encourage them to work extra hard and to pay attention to their teacher.

12% -- Percentage of students ages 6 to 11 who participate in clubs, sports, and lessons, including music, language, and dance. Talk to your kids about what they are interested in. Supervised recreation can be a great way for children to make friends, learn new skills, and stay out of trouble. According to the American Society of Criminology, students who engage in supervised activities are less likely to commit crimes and to be delinquent.

6% -- Percentage of children age 6 to 11 who had ever repeated a grade as of 2006.
A little extra work on your part could pay dividends. Review your child's homework and ask them about their favorite and least favorite subjects in school. Talk to your child's teacher periodically and inquire if your child needs additional help.

200 -- Number of viruses that can cause the common cold. Stock up on soap and vitamins, and encourage you children to frequently wash their hands. Preventing your child from contracting a cold starts with good hand hygiene. When the weather starts cooling down, make your child take a coat to school. Remember, preventing a child from becoming ill could also prevent an illness from contaminating the whole family.

9.9 billion -- Pounds of apples produced in 2008.
As the saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," packing an apple in your child's lunch is a good way to help them stay healthy. If your child is one of the 31 million who participate in school lunch programs each month, encourage them to select healthy choices. Buy a few apples for after-school snacks or give one to a teacher as a back-to-school thank you.

$14,951 -- Average cost of tuition and room and board for in-state students at the nation's four-year public colleges.
The cost of college has more than doubled since 1990 and continues to rise each year. Saving a little every year can help reduce the amount of loans students need. Encourage your children to continue to excel in both academics and their recreational interests, and find ways to volunteer in the community. Good grades, participation in lessons and sports, and volunteer hours not only look good on college applications, but grab the interest of scholarship committees.

$57,181 -- Average annual earnings of those with a bachelors degree in 2007.
Encouraging your children to persevere in their studies can add up to tens of thousands of dollars each year. Those without a high school diploma earn an average of $21,484 per year while those who obtained their GED earn an average of $31,286 per year. Taking a few extra years to study a field of interest gives students additional bargaining power in their salary. In 2008, the highest average starting salary ($75,621) was offered to petroleum engineering majors.

3.3 Million -- Projected number of high school diplomas to be awarded this year.
Earning a high school diploma not only affects the amount of money a person can potentially earn, but it makes children smarter. According to IQtest.net, children gain 3.5 IQ points for each year they attend school. Support your child's interests and help them get excited about not only starting, but finishing school.

45% -- Percent of children in California enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade who speak a language other than English at home. Especially in California, multi-language instruction consumes a tremendous amount of resources and with school budgets shrinking, the strain in this area will undoubtedly be felt. Keep an eye on your child's class to see if instruction time is being split. A little extra time spent helping your child with their studies at home can provide additional individual instruction that will help lead to success.


Santa Clarita School Start Dates:

*Newhall School District - Wednesday August 12
*Sulphur Springs District - Thursday August 13
*Saugus School District - Wednesday August 19
*Castaic Union School District - Thursday August 13
*William S. Hart district - Thursday August 13
*College of the Canyons - Monday August 24
*Cal State University of Northridge - Monday August 24