'Anxiety is normal.' Principal shares tips as new school year begins in Wake County

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Monday, August 28, 2023
WCPSS principal shares tips as new school year begins
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A new school year also brings new changes and challenges.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It was hours before hundreds of families were set to visit campus for Conn Magnet Elementary School's meet-the-teacher night and principal Gabriel Chidester was getting prepared for a successful evening.

"Anxiety is normal. It's a new year. New expectations, new friends," she said. "Together we're going to get through the school year just fine."

The Raleigh elementary school is one of many across the Triangle that will start school on August 28.

For a successful school year for both parents and students, Chidester suggests, "Any type of parent involvement. Whether it's reading the newsletters or weekly communication. Parent involvement is going to further support students."

Across Wake County, sixth grader Grayson Deleo has her first-day-of-school outfit already picked out.

"A lot of others are going in not knowing anybody," said Deleo. "So you just kind of have to be ready to meet people. Because I don't know anybody. A bunch of my friends going to different schools don't know anybody. So I think you have to go in being open-minded."

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A new school year also brings new changes and challenges.

This 2023-2024 school year, WCPSS has introduced a new visitor management software and increased the pricing on breakfast and lunch meals. The district is also placing more emphasis on mental health.

"If you have a concern about your child's emotional and social well-being or mental health," Chidester said, "please reach out to the school. Our teachers are highly trained to look for those (mental health) signs and refer them to the Human Services Department to make sure they can get the help they need to be successful."

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Several parents with children starting a new school year share in their commitment to a great school year as well.

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"Hang in there. It's not always easy. Just enjoy it. Embrace it. Because it goes by in the blink of an eye," said parent Stacie Sonesson. "It's before you know it. Kindergarten then off to college and it's over! I mean so fast."

"I introduced myself and got her with a couple of the kids before so that she knew she had a friend when she went in," said parent of three Brittany Futch.

Wake County Public Schools says parents should review the student-parent handbook for a helpful guide on rules and expectations and apply for free or reduced-price lunches.

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