Hamilton County students are heading back to school Wednesday, Aug. 7. For parents with children returning to class, lunches have probably been packed, new shoes tied and school supplies gathered, but there are other things you should remember to ensure you and your child have a successful year.
Here are some things you should know to help the first day of school go smoothly:
1. Make sure you have registered your child for school.
Online registration is available for students new to Hamilton County Schools and for returning students.
If you already have an account in the district's PowerSchool Parent Portal, you will only have to log in and check each child's information such as address, phone contact numbers, etc. to make sure it is correct to begin the new school year.
Registration is required for all returning students, new-to-the-district students and new kindergarten students. If you have not already registered your child, contact your child's school before Wednesday to ensure a smooth process on the first day back.
For more information on registration, visit www.hcde.org.
Some key dates for the Hamilton County School calendar 2019-20:
› Wednesday — First full day of school
› Oct. 4 — End of first quarter
› Oct. 7-11 — Fall break
› Oct. 18 — Report cards
› Dec. 18 — End of second quarter
› Dec. 19-Jan. 1 — Winter break
› Jan. 6 — Schools reopen
› Jan. 10 — Report cards
› March 13 — Third quarter ends
› March 20 — Report cards
› April 3-9 — Spring break
› May 21 — Last day of school; report cardsSource: www.hcde.org
2. Make sure your student gets to school on time!
More than 43,000 students and 6,500 employees will be returning to the classroom Wednesday.
Start times vary at the 74 schools across the district, with the earliest bells ringing at 7:15 a.m. and the latest after 9 a.m. Several schools, including Signal Mountain schools, Brainerd and Sequoyah high schools and East Ridge Middle, have new start and end times this school year.
Dismissal begins around 2:15 and extends throughout the afternoon. To check the bell times at your child's school, visit www.hcde.org/parents/bell_times.
3. Make sure you know where your child's bus stop is.
There are more than 230 bus routes serving more than half of Hamilton County's students. To find your child's bus stop, visit www.hcde.org or call the district's transportation hotline at 423-498-7373.
This year, most students will be riding on one of 185 new school buses provided by First Student Inc, the district's new transportation provider. The new buses are air-conditioned and equipped with several cameras and state-of-the-art technology to ensure student safety.
4. Make sure you've made the best school choice for your child.
The Hamilton County public school district provides a variety of options for students. About 60 schools have assigned attendance zones, but the district also offers 14 magnet schools and, beginning this year, has seven open-enrollment schools.
Last year, the school board approved opening enrollment to all district students at Dalewood Middle, Lookout Valley Middle/High School, Red Bank Middle, Rivermont Elementary, Soddy-Daisy Middle and Woodmore Elementary School.
Howard Connect Academy also opens this year with 150 sixth grade students. The school does not have an attendance zone but is fully open enrollment.
Most magnet or open enrollment slots are assigned via lottery system sometime in the early spring. For more information about school choices in Hamilton County, visit www.hcde.org/schools/my_future_schools.
5. Make sure your child's vaccination records are updated.
Children enrolling in Tennessee child care facilities or schools for the first time and all rising seventh-graders must provide a state immunization certificate before classes start as proof they've received required immunizations. Health officials advise parents to ensure their child's records are complete to avoid last-minute scrambles.
All required vaccines are available at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department on a walk-in basis. Many vaccines are covered through health insurance, and income-based programs are available for the under-insured and uninsured. For complete information about the state's immunization requirements, visit www.tn.gov/health/ or talk to your school administrators.