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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #11-63
September 6, 2011
Contact: Tina Jung
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Welcomes
Students and Teachers Back to School

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson officially welcomed students, teachers, school employees, and administrators back to school, and provided parents with 10 timely back-to-school tips today for the start of the traditional school year.

"Our state's future depends on our public schools," Torlakson said. "Across California, students are starting the school year with high hopes. And though teachers, school employees, and administrators are coping with enormous challenges, I know they are committed to making this year the very best for each and every student. Welcome back to school, California!"

Tom's Back-to-School Tips

  1. Get your shots. Seventh through twelve graders must get their pertussis shots, and must show proof of immunization to attend public and private schools this fall. Administrators may allow unimmunized students to remain in school for 30 days after the start of school before meeting the vaccine requirement. For more information, please visit Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Vaccine Requirement - Health Services & School Nursing.
  2. Get your sleep. Doctors recommend children in the first through fifth grades get as much as 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can affect a child's ability to learn and may affect their immune systems.
  3. Have a healthy breakfast. Hungry children do not learn as well as well-nourished ones. If you don't have time to pack a healthy lunch, schools usually serve students well-balanced meals. Low-income children may qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Just fill out an application directly at your school.
  4. Stay active. Keep children physically active with bike rides, basketball, and walkathons. Studies show that physically active students have better classroom behavior and a better ability to learn and achieve.
  5. Avoid school absences. Chronic absences are an early predictor of students dropping out of school that could affect their academic and career success.
  6. Read! Reading to children calms them at bedtime and exposes them to language, sounds, new ideas, and the love of reading. Create a comfortable, quiet, well-lit place to study in your house for older children, away from distractions like electronic devices and toys. This will help them concentrate and absorb more of what they are trying to learn.
  7. Get to know your child's teacher. This will help create a good line of communication to help avoid conflicts and misunderstandings about your child's education.
  8. Lend a hand. Volunteer your time, raise money through booster clubs, and donate supplies to your local school. In these tough economic times, schools have cut back severely. Plus, the school and students benefit from parents who are actively engaged in their children's education.
  9. Drink plenty of water. Many students have already started training for the high school sports season. With temperatures still in the 90s, everyone needs to watch out for heat exhaustion. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention has created a free online course to prevent heat-related illness. For the free course, please visit Health Studies: Natural Disasters and Severe Weather: Heat Related Illness (HRI) Prevention | CDC HSB [http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/extreme/heat_illness_training.htm?s_cid=tw_eh+223] External link opens in new window or tab..
  10. Spend quality time with your kids. This helps in your children's development and happiness, and helps reduce your own stress.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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