August is National Back to School Month


BUCKHANNON — This week marked the first day back to school for Upshur County students and is included in the National Back to School Month (NBSM).

Upshur County students participated in open houses, meet the teachers and welcome back events. Students could be seen skipping and laughing as they reunited with their friends and favorite teachers. Every year during the month of August, National Back to School Month is celebrated throughout the country.

According to the National Calendar Day website, “Back to School Month in August gears up parents, teachers, schools and students for a season of education.

“With shorter days, it’s time to dust off the backpacks, fill them up and plan for a new school year. Preparing children for the new year includes everything from supplies, clothes, checkups, planning schedules and making new friends. Teachers develop their lesson plans and ready their classrooms for the new, smiling faces.

“Despite all the excitement, the expense of going back to school can put a damper on going back to school. Fill-the-bus events, backpack programs and teacher supply initiatives help to fill the gaps. Organizations around the country pull together to make the first day of school fun every year for everyone.”

Many students are given a supply list for items needed throughout the year. Also, teachers often make Amazon wish lists to help curb the cost from their own pockets. Parents can help their students best by checking the supply list, touring the student’s school and learning their schedule. Ask the child’s teacher about any wish lists. Helping teachers is often overlooked, however they are the everyday front-line workers who take care of and protect children every day. Parents can get involved by volunteering for field trips or party event.

The National Calendar Day website explains, “National Back to School Month has been observed since the 1960s. The school year has traditionally begun in the fall and ended in late spring allowing the children of farmers in our agricultural society to help with planting and harvesting. Though today most families have moved to a more urban and suburban lifestyle, most schools in the United States still function on this system. However, a trend toward a year-round school year is gaining steam.”

Public schools in the United States have an interesting history. Public schools enjoy a long and illustrious history in the United States, with the first schools in the country dating almost as far back as the arrival of the Puritans on U.S. shores. Since that time, the purpose, philosophy and goals of public education have been examined and debated, up to the development of the public school system still in existence today. How we got to the current point in public education warrants a look back centuries at the very first schools dedicated to educating American youth. As early as the 17th century, the need for public education was recognized by the Puritans living on American shores at the time. This population determined education was essential both for teaching basic academic skills and core religious values. Boston Latin School was established as the first public high school in 1635 in Boston, Massachusetts. The school is still in operation to this day.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony decreed in 1647 that towns of 50 people should have a public elementary school, and those with populations of over 100 should have a Latin school. The primary function of schools at this time was to teach reading so that children learned to read the Bible. Schools also taught Puritan values and basic information about the Calvinist religion, according to Applied Research Center.

During the 19th century, public education began the evolution into today’s system, with a number of public schools cropping up in the 1840s. PBS describes the 19th century classroom as a sparse facility, depicting the prevalence of frugality within the agricultural community of the time. Learning tools consisted of slates and chalk, as well as a handful of schoolbooks. Oral examinations and recitations were a common daily occurrence. A single teacher taught children of all ages and abilities.

Schooling was a community-wide effort, with residents of the community taking turns providing supplies like firewood, building desks for the students and cleaning the stable where the horses that students rode to school were kept during the day. Even the teacher at the school, who was generally a young, unmarried woman, was cared for by the community, frequently staying in the homes of local families and rotating locations as needed.

Encourage students as they continue to learn and grow through the Upshur County School system. As the year continues, The Record Delta will be covering a vast variety of events hosted by different schools throughout the county.

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