North Carolina heads back to school

Teachers, students prepare to return; supplies gathered for those in need

FIle photo

KINSTON — Across North Carolina, more than 1.5 million students in K-12 are heading back to the classroom. This means teachers are preparing lesson plans, parents are buying school supplies, football practices have begun and students are preparing for a new academic year.

From church and community book bag drives to physicals for sports teams and study tips for success, North Carolinians are preparing for the year in a variety of ways.

“Teaching is a passion. Seeing the excitement on the faces of students as they begin the school year and helping them move toward graduation is a true calling and privilege,” said Cheryl Bynum, a high school Spanish teacher at the North East Carolina Prep School in Tarboro.

“We want our students to succeed. I encourage students to regularly talk with their teachers and guidance counselors regarding questions they have regarding assignments, testing and overall grades,” she added.

Teachers are the best advice-givers when it comes to preparing for success in the classroom. Leigh Anne Orr, a seventh-grade math and science teacher at Elm City Middle School in Wilson County, offers these tips for students:

  • Be organized. Have class notes and work separated by different tabs in binders.
  • Have notebooks for each class.
  • Have a daily planner or agenda to write homework assignments, task lists, etc.
  • Review notes daily. Make notecards for vocabulary words to review over the course of the year.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher questions. Ask how the test will be formatted. Ask for additional help in areas that are difficult.
  • Recopy or type notes for additional study practice.
  • Use resources, like YouTube, to search for math or science examples to gain additional practice.
  • Be an individual and proud of who you are. Be open to all new experiences and topics while respecting the opinions of others.

“The AVID rule of thumb is to study your notes for 10 minutes, every 24 hours, seven days a week,” said Orr. “If you don’t succeed the first time, you are not failing. This is teaching life lessons and shows you how to try again. Don’t be discouraged. Ask the teacher for help if you need clarifying on a subject.”

It’s not just the teachers who want students to meet their academic goals for the year. It’s communities, too.

For many students, obtaining school supplies can be a financial challenge or burden. Civic and church groups, along with health care organizations such as UNC Health and UNC REX Healthcare, are stepping up to meet the needs of their communities.

“Our first Stuff the Bus effort was a definite success,” said Kerry Grace Heckle, public relations director for UNC REX Healthcare. “Co-workers from across UNC REX Healthcare, and members of the community, collected school supplies to support kids and teachers in Wake County Public Schools.

“As one of Wake County’s largest employers, UNC REX co-workers were proud to make a positive impact and give back to their community,” she added. “We can all feel good about helping kids start the school year with the tools they need to succeed.”

For Wake County, more than 7,000 school supplies were collected including: 100-plus backpacks, 1,400 notebooks, 850 boxes of pencils, 815 folders and 100 full-size pumps of hand sanitizer, to name a few.

UNC Medical Center held a simultaneous drive to garner school supplies for those in Orange County and collected more than 5,000 supplies.

In addition, many UNC Physicians Network practices are offering $10 sports physicals for new patients. For resources on understanding the difference between a well exam (physical) and sports physical, or to print the $10 sports physical form, visit