Back to School
The first day of school for students is Aug. 29.
To help you get ready, we have a checklist of things to make sure that you know and things that you may need to take care of before school starts:
If your child is new to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, you can determine your child’s residential school by using the School Locator, by calling the student assignment office at 336-748-3302 or sending an email to Homan Atashbar, the director of student assignment, at email@example.com.
Once you know your child’s school, you should go to there with the necessary documents. You will need to take your ID, your child’s birth certificate, proof of your family’s home address and immunization records for your child. It is also helpful to bring school records from the school your child was attending before. If you are not the child’s parent, you must provide a document that shows you have legal custody. As for proof of address, that should be a utility bill with your name and address or a lease document.
If English is not the primary language spoken at home, you should take your child to the Newcomer Center at the City Market (601 N. Cherry Street in Winston-Salem). There, your child can take an English Proficiency Test to determine whether your child qualifies for English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The center can also provide help with the necessary documents and applications for such services as free/reduced-price lunch.
Open Houses, Orientation and Other Important Dates
Open houses are the week before school starts. Middle school open houses will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 24; high school open houses will be 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 24; and elementary school open houses will be 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 25. Going to the open house will give you a chance to meet your child’s teachers, the school’s principal and others who will be working with your child. Making a personal connection with the people at the school early on can make things go more smoothly once your child starts school.
We also hold orientations for sixth-graders and ninth-graders to help students make the transition to a new school. Sixth-grade orientation will be 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Aug. 24, and ninth-grade orientation will be 8:55 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. on Aug. 24. Buses will run for ninth-graders, and they'll receive their class schedules for the year. For more information about orientation, call your child's school.
Our calendar page includes these dates and all other important dates for the 2016-17 school year, including exam schedules, graduation schedules and more. You can also download printable copies of the calendar in English and Spanish.
Before entering kindergarten, a child must have a physical and received the following required vaccinations:
- two doses of varicella (chicken pox) vaccine if they do not have a history of disease documented by a health care provider
- the fourth dose of polio vaccine must be given after 4 years of age and before entering school for the first time
Children who start seventh grade this fall are required to have vaccines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Students are required to have:
- one dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
- one dose of meningococcal vaccine
Vaccines are available at your doctor’s office or, for those who have Medicaid or no insurance, through the Forsyth County Department of Public Health. The heath department (799 Highland Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC, 27101) offers the vaccination at its walk-in clinics Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m.); Thursday (9:30 a.m.-6:45 p.m.); and Friday (8:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.). Make sure you bring your immunization record. Call 703-3314 for more information.
The school supplies that your child needs depend on your child’s grade level and program. You can find general lists of supplies necessary for elementary, middle and high school students on our school supplies page. You also can check your school's website for other recommendations.
Some rules apply to all schools. That includes: No bare feet. No pants, slacks or jeans that sag below the waist. No hats, caps, bandanas or other garments that cover the student’s face or otherwise conceal the student’s identity. No symbols or clothing associated with gangs, intimidation or violence.
No clothing that contains advertisements for tobacco, alcohol or drugs; pictures or graphics of nudity; words that are profane, lewd, vulgar, or indecent. No halter tops. No bare midriffs. No spaghetti straps or tank tops. No strapless shirts or tube tops. No revealing attire. No very short skirts or shorts. No underpants or bras that show or that are worn as outerwear.
Some schools use standard modes of dress (often called SMOD) or uniforms. Check with your child’s school about specific guidelines.
Students will receive school email accounts and will be able to send and receive email from their school addresses at school, at home, from a mobile device and anywhere they can access the Internet.
Giving each student an email address allows schools to better use SchoolNet, a statewide system of instructional tools and assessments. The student accounts also will be linked to shared word-processing and presentation applications, allowing them to work in teams and with teachers on shared projects. It will allow students to work on the same documents without needing specific software programs on their computers or devices.
Students are expected to comply with the Code of Student Conduct and Policy 6161, Responsible Use of Technology when using their school email addresses.
Bring Your Own Device
Starting in 2014-15, WS/FCS opened its computer network to students with its Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative. Students, employees and visitors can use their own phones, tablets, computers and other devices to connect to the Internet on the school district’s public network. The network uses filters to keep users from inappropriate sites.
With BYOD, teachers are able to design lessons that encourage students to use online research and tools. Students do not have to buy a device, and they will not be penalized if they do not have one. Schools use different approaches to make sure students have similar opportunities. Please talk to your teacher or principal for more information about how BYOD is used in your school.
Students are expected to comply with the Code of Student Conduct and Policy 6161, Responsible Use of Technology when using the school district’s network.
Re-establish Your School Day Routine
To make sure that your child is fresh on the first day of school, re-establish your school-day routine a week or so beforehand by having your child go to bed and get up at the same time as on school days.
Breakfast and Lunch Prices and Menus
Prices for lunch are $2.70 in elementary schools, $2.80 in middle schools and $2.90 in high schools. Breakfast is $1.90 in elementary school, $2.00 in middle school and $2.10 in high school. Reduced-price lunches are 40 cents each in all grades. Students can also purchase food a-la-carte.
If you would like to have the convenience of pre-paying for your child’s meals, you can send do so by check or by online payment. To pay by check, make out the check to the cafeteria at your child’s school and include your child’s NCWISE identification number. To pay online, go to www.myschoolbucks.com.
People eligible for free or reduced-priced meals need to fill out an application. Applications are available from the cafeteria manager at your child’s school and the Child Nutrition Office at 2266 Marble St. If you have any questions, you can call the Child Nutrition Department at (336) 771-4526 ext. 106 or ext. 109.
You can see the monthly menus for breakfast and lunch on Chartwells' school menus page.
Emergency Contact Information
If your child is going to a new school, it’s important to make sure that the school has your telephone numbers and email addresses so that school officials can contact you if necessary. Even if your child is still going to the same school, it’s a good idea to make sure that the contact information that the school has is current.
Start and Dismissal Times
The beginning and ending times of the school day vary from school to school. Check the Bell Times page for a complete list of times.
Before- and After-School Care
Check with your child’s school to find out the options and cost. Most elementary schools have before- or after-school care programs located at the school. Some are operated by the YMCA, YWCA, Imprints or AlphaBest. Others are run by individual schools.
Other programs are offered at YMCA or YWCA buildings, churches and private day-care centers. Students may be able to ride the school bus to programs in their attendance district or may be picked up at the school. Most programs operate until 6 p.m. There is a fee, and scholarships are available for students in need of financial support.
After-school programs in schools do not operate if school is closed early for bad weather. Many day-care providers also close if there is bad weather. Please watch Cable 2 or check our homepage for closing information in the event of bad weather.
Bus Stop Information
Bus transportation is provided to high school students who live more than 1.5 miles from school and middle and elementary school students who live more than .5 miles away. Bus stops are set up to be within .5 miles of a student's home and may be placed closer if walking conditions are confirmed to be hazardous. Children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade must be supervised at the stop by someone in the fourth grade or older.
Before you child gets on the bus on Aug. 29, you should make sure that he or she knows bus etiquette and safety rules.
On the bus:
- Walk to the bus stop and wait quietly at a safe place away from the road.
- Don’t run or horse around at the bus stop. If you fall, the driver may not be able to see you.
- Respect the danger zone of the bus and stay where the driver can see you.
- Always cross the street in front of the bus. Don’t go behind the bus.
- Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before approaching the bus. If you’re crossing the street, wait until the bus driver uses the appropriate hand signal to carefully cross the street after looking both ways. See more information about the new hand signals here.
- Take turns and enter the school bus in line and hold the handrail of the bus while going up and down the stairs.
- Treat the bus driver with respect.
- Go directly to your assigned seat, slide over, face forward, and put your book bag on your lap.
- Speak quietly on the school bus so the driver won’t be distracted. Be silent when a bus comes to a railroad crossing so the driver can hear if a train is coming.
- Don’t throw things on the bus or out the windows. Don’t stick your arms or head or any objects out the windows.
- Keep your hands to yourself. Fighting and picking on others creates a dangerous bus ride.
- Don’t eat or drink on the bus.
If you walk your child to the bus stop the first day, remember not to be too mushy when you say good-bye.
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