Ask DPS: Tips to get school year off to good start

Aug. 11, 2014 @ 09:58 AM

It seems that just when families have begun to settle into their summer routines, it’s already time for a new school year. Durham Public Schools students on the traditional calendar go back to class on Aug. 25. Here are some important tips to help start the school year smoothly.

Remember, if you haven’t yet registered your child for school, please do so now — you can avoid long lines on the first day of school. Call your child’s school or, if you’re not sure which school you’re assigned to, our Office of Student Assignment at (919) 560-2059.
Q: Is it true that DPS is offering free breakfast to all students this school year? Do we need to apply for it?
A: When children have a healthy breakfast, they’re more attentive and engaged throughout the school day. We piloted our Universal Free Breakfast program in 22 schools last year and it was such a success we are expanding the program across all of Durham Public Schools. We will be serving breakfast to every student, every day (except on delayed openings), regardless of whether a family participates in the free or reduced-price lunch programs.
Our Universal Free Breakfast program essentially pays for itself by making the most out of federal funds. Plus, when everyone has breakfast together individual students aren’t stigmatized as receiving free or reduced-price meals, which increases the number of children having a healthy start to the day.
You don’t need to do anything for your child to receive Universal Free Breakfast. However, families must still apply to the free and reduced price meal program in order to receive lunch support. Applications are available at your school or on the DPS website: just click on “Lunch Menus” in the Quick Links section on our front page at dpsnc.net.
Q: How can I be sure my child will be on the right bus?
A: Early communication with your school is the key to a smooth ride for your son or daughter. When registering your child for school, please make sure that you check “Yes” for morning and/or afternoon transportation on the student data sheet. If your address has changed, please notify your school as soon as possible so that we may assign a new bus stop — new stop requests may take up to five days to process. Also, let us know if your child needs a different bus stop for the mornings or afternoons, such as day care.
In the Buses and Transportation section of our website (also available in the Quick Links on our front page), you can use our online bus stop finder. All you need is your child’s last name and the last four digits of his or her student ID number, which you may get from a report card or your child’s school. From there you can confirm the morning and afternoon stop locations and print a bus pass for a first-time rider.
If you have any questions, our transportation department is happy to help you. Just call (919) 560-BUSS (2877) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

What are your questions about Durham Public Schools? Email them to PICE@dpsnc.net and the Office of Public Information and Community Engagement will connect you to the experts.