Back to School Tips and Information from Paragon Homes

Back to school tips from Paragon Homes Custom BuilderMost of us are back into the school routine by now – up early and scrambling to get breakfast, pack lunches and organize the day.

If you are moving into a Paragon new home neighborhood, here is some background information on school districts in areas where we build. And no matter where your kids go to school, read on for ways to organize and structure your home to help save time and reduce the clutter.

South Fayette Township School District – A growing school district that recently built a new primary school building for grades K-2, South Fayette serves only residents of the township. The primary, intermediate, middle and high school buildings are located on the same campus. South Fayette has been nationally recognized for its educational initiatives in science and technology.

Chartiers Valley School District – Chartiers Valley School District serves families in Bridgeville, Collier Township, Scott Township and Heidelberg. The district has started construction of a new middle school on the existing campus of the middle and high school buildings in Collier. A primary school for grades K-2 is also in Collier, and the intermediate school is located in Scott Township. Chartiers Valley was recognized in 2015 as having one of the top 10 STEM programs in the country.

Montour School District – Students who live in Robinson and Kennedy townships, Ingram and Thornburg boroughs and Pennsbury Village attend Montour School District schools. The district is building a new, consolidated elementary school for grades K-4 near the high school in Robinson. The middle school is located in Kennedy. Montour High School opened a Virtual Immersion lab – the first of its kind in the state – in 2015.

Upper St. Clair School District – “Newsweek” ranked Upper St. Clair High School #113 in the nation among public high schools last year, and the school district has also been nationally recognized for its music education program. The district serves Upper St. Clair Township with three elementary schools and two middle schools along with the high school.

Peters Township School District – Serving families in Peters Township and the towns of McMurray and Venetia, Peters Township School District earned a 14th place ranking statewide from the “Pittsburgh Business Times” in its 2016 Guide to Western PA Schools. The district operates three elementary schools, one middle school and the high school.

North Allegheny School District – Consistently ranked by “Newsweek” in the top 6% of public high schools nationwide, North Allegheny is the largest suburban school district in Allegheny County. Children who live in Bradford Woods and Franklin Park boroughs, Marshall Township and the Town of McCandless attend one of North Allegheny’s 7 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 high schools (an intermediate high school serves students in grade 9 and 10).

Settling in to the school year can take some time, and your children’s storage and space needs will change as they grow. Here are some ways to optimize your home for a smooth school year.

Entryway Storage

A custom closet or a row of locker-style cubbies near the door will make everyone’s life a little easier on school mornings. The key is training everyone in the family to use their designated hook or space for storing backpacks, lunchboxes and shoes. Try to customize each section and if everyone has his or her own space it will be easy to remember who sits where. Baskets near the doorway you use most often can also help corral umbrellas, sports gear and gloves and hats once the weather turns cold.

Desk Space

Whether your child likes to work in peace and quiet or in the middle of the action, he or she needs a desk or table space for homework. It’s always helpful to set up a routine. Maybe homework in the kitchen during dinner prep is the best time, or farther away from family distractions in their own room right after school. Kids who are involved in activities often end up doing homework “on the road”, but that isn’t an option for larger projects that involve a lot of research. If you have your own “homework” to do in the evenings for work, make it a family routine to keep everyone on track.

Command Center

In the first weeks of school, especially, half of the papers your kids bring home are for you. Designate one spot – a folder, basket, file drawer, etc. — for school-related paperwork. An open spot in the house, like the kitchen or family room, is a great place to set up a “command center” with a calendar and wipe-off memo board to keep track of everyone’s activities and appointments. Lots of people rely on electronic calendars, but there’s something to be said for a large scale, visual “aid” to keep important dates front and center in a high-traffic room in your house.

It’s not too late to ramp up your house’s organization and daily routines, even if you’ve been back to school for a few weeks. Even some small changes can free up more time for family activities that aren’t school or work related.

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