August Awareness: National Back to School Month


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For students, teachers, parents, and guardians across the nation, the arrival of August signals the end of summer vacation and the arrival of back-to-school season. For many, the month is filled with school supply shopping, schedule planning, and otherwise preparing for the academic year to come, so it’s no surprise that August is also known as National Back to School Month

National Back to School Month History 

Since the 1960s, National Back to School Month has been observed during the month of August. In the United States, the school year traditionally starts in the fall and ends in the spring. This schedule was created with the intention of allowing children in farming families to be home to help out during the planting and harvesting seasons in our primarily agricultural society. With more families living in urban and suburban areas, some schools have shifted to a year-round or alternative academic calendar, but the majority of schools still keep a start date sometime in August, making it the perfect awareness month for back-to-school preparations. 

How to celebrate National Back to School Month 

Whether you’re a parental figure blocking out time in your schedule for school supply shopping or someone who isn’t in school anymore, there are plenty of ways to observe National Back to School Month and support students and teachers in your community. 

Donate school supplies 

Once the school year begins, many schools and teachers have supply lists they need help to fill. From tissue boxes and hand sanitizer to markers and notebook paper, every classroom needs resources to support their students and that’s where you can help. Reach out to your local schools to see if they’re looking for any specific supplies for the school year. Then, drop off donations to schools in need. To increase your impact, reach out to your network to see if they can help you donate goods or money for school supplies. You can also search in your community for existing school supply donation drives to donate to. 

Volunteer at your local school 

Even before the school year begins, many schools need volunteers to help run their back-to-school events and help students get acclimated. Volunteer to help at back-to-school registration days or help out at any welcome back fun fests or picnics schools have planned. If you’ve attended a local school yourself or know any students, connect with new students to give tours and advice on how to navigate their new school and help set to rest any first-day jitters. 

Charities to donate to 

The back-to-school season is a busy time, so if you don’t have the time to volunteer, consider donating to educational charities. Here are a few charities you can donate to for National Back to School Month to support teachers and students. 

Junior Achievement 

Founded in 1919, Junior Achievement (JA) is one of the nation’s largest educational charities. JA teaches students financial literacy, professional skills, and everything else they need to become independent adults in both in-school and after-school programs. Junior Achievement has over 100 local chapters across the nation that are dedicated to serving youth in local communities, so if you want to impact your local community, look up your local JA chapter to donate to. 

Kids in Need Foundation 

The Kids in Need Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting equity in schools. They believe that “every child in America deserves equal opportunity and access to a quality education.” In pursuit of making their mission a reality, the Kids in Need Foundation provides supplies to schools located in impoverished areas, taking the burden off teachers to supply their classrooms out of their own pockets. The foundation also provides supplies directly to students, hosting backpack builds and setting up company match programs. 

Teach for America 

Teach for America (TFA) is another nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all children have equal access to a good education. TFA recruits “corps members” who commit to teaching for two years in local schools located in low-income communities. After completing their two years of teaching, many alumni continue to remain in education full time or in other careers that work in low-income communities. By donating to Teach for America, you’ll be supporting these corps members in their mission to positively impact students’ lives.  

Final thoughts

The back-to-school season can be hectic and nerve-wracking for everyone involved with preparations for a new academic year. With these recognition ideas and charities, you can turn National Back to School Month into an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world and your communities, while also preparing for the new year yourself. 

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