15 Ways to Ensure Everyone Has a Positive First Day of School

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)

Back-to-school can be both an exciting and a nerve-wracking time. Meeting new teachers, getting to know expectations and starting a new routine can cause a lot of anxiety. But there is a much bigger problem. While some students are able to start school in their new shoes and back-to-school clothes, their backpacks filled with all the necessary items to prepare for an enriching school year, others are unable to purchase the items that will be needed for each class (let alone the latest styles). When times are tough and money is tight, school supplies simply aren’t a priority, but they can make a big difference in a student’s success.

You can help. If you are aware of a student who could use a bit of support before the first day of school, we’ve compiled a list of items that can strip away the anxiety of starting back to class and offer a dose of confidence to those who could use it most.


A sturdy backpack

Traditional No. 2 pencils

Cap erasers

Various sizes of three-ring binders

A variety of one- three- and five-subject notebooks

Pocket folders

Index cards


Gym clothes

A gift certificate to a shoe store/department store for a few back-to-school essentials

Pocket calendar/agenda book

Pencil pouch

Lunch money

A donation to a nonprofit that offers tutoring support

Flash drive for projects/presentations