Over the next two weeks, students across the region will be going back to school.

This is generally the time when the panic sets in. As the days of August drip away and school looms, we’re reminded that the summer is nearly over. As imperceptible as that is for adults (at least those of us who don’t teach), every summer is an epoch for kids. School is the signal that a time of fun and summer camp is about to end.

It may be hard to remember what it was like as a kid, but you can see it in the attitudes of children. They brace themselves for the abrupt transition – they know a schedule of math classes, homework and too-brief recesses is about to be thrust upon them.

As much as children dread the onset of school, studies have shown that most parents also dread the start of the school year.

It seems counterintuitive. Many parents I know are eager to get their kids back into school and happy to be done with the summer scheduling and shuttling between various camps and other daytime care. But a parent’s primary role – to worry – is never done.

For some, their child may be about to start at a new school. In the city, transportation to the magnet and charter schools attended by many Northwest Philly children is a patchwork of buses and trains. It’s hard not to worry about your child the first time he or she gets on SEPTA bound for Center City.

Parents also worry about how their child will do academically. They worry about how their children will do when they try out for that sports team. They worry if their child will be able to get along with classmates. They worry about bullying, new teachers, dating and a host of other things that happen to children once they’re off to school, out of the house and on their own.

This would be the paragraph where I offer advice to avoid the stresses and likely perils of the coming school year. But I don’t have any. I f nothing else, know if you’re stressed out that you’re not alone. Brace yourself. School is about to start.

A plug

For public school students in Philadelphia, this year marks a decided boost in morale. It’s the first year in several in which the year will begin without a sense of impending doom due to budget shortfalls. With some 500 new teachers set to enter the school system, the district is reportedly 97 percent staffed.

Still, there is a great need in the city for school supplies. Global Citizen, an organization run by local resident Todd Bernstein, is running a supply drive through Sept. 2. Everything from pencils and paper to calculators and bottles of hand sanitizer are welcome. Locally, both High Point Café locations are accepting drop-offs for the drive. Those locations are 602 Carpenter Lane and 7210 Cresheim Road. For more info see

Donate and help other parents, students and teachers feel a little less stressed this school year.

— Pete Mazzaccaro

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