Education Matters—Sanford School's Private School Blog

List of Back-to-School Essentials

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 25, 2017 at 11:30 AM

It’s that time of year! Though I am not talking about 1705011124 (1) - Copy.jpgthe holidays, the beginning of a school year also means a lot of shopping for parents. With the impressive amount of tasks that need to be accomplished, coming up with a comprehensive list of all that needs to be purchased for the upcoming academic year is something that most parents just don’t have time for. Here is a basic list to help guide any parent and child in their search for school supplies.

  • Binders

Buy one for each class and create a binder cover with the appropriate class name. By choosing a different colored binder for each class, a student can avoid confusing one class’s binder for another when they are in a rush.

  • Lined Loose-leaf paper

Choose between college-ruled and wide-ruled paper and purchase enough to fill each binder and restock throughout the year.

  • Tab dividers

Five dividers per binder allows a student to separate notes, tests/quizzes, homework, old notes, and projects/essays.

  • Blue or Black Pens

Because pens sometimes have a tendency to disappear, having at least five allows for some of the pens to be lost.

  • Pencils

Although most schools have pencil sharpeners, students will want to sharpen their pencils (unless mechanical) before they arrive so they will be as prepared as possible.

  • Pencil case

This is a necessity and should be stocked before school starts. Fill it with pencils, pens, white out/erasers, and highlighters.

  • Post-it notes

You never know how much you will need these little wonders until it is time to study for a big test of quiz. They help separate material and note important points.

  • Sharpie

It is a good idea to have at least one sharpie with which to put a student’s name on binders and textbooks.

  • Paper reinforcement labels

Even the most conscientious student can tell you that some papers rip no matter how careful you are. These handy stickers can be lifesavers so make sure you stock up for the new school year.

  • Calculator

Whether this means going out and buying a new calculator or just tracking down an already purchased one, it is something that every student at every level will need and a back-to-school essential.

  • Highlighters

Each student needs at least one to three highlighters for taking notes or highlighting text. They can be in any eye-catching color.

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  • Assignment planner

This is a definite must for even the most organized student. Try to choose one which 

can document weekly assignments and offer a calendar view of the month’s events.

  • Pocket tissues

These will really come in handy in the cold season to have in your backpack once the ones in the classroom start to run out.

  • White out/Erasor

It is always handy to have either white out or erasers available when the eraser on a pencil runs out or you make a fatal mistake with a pen.

  • Red Pen

This commonly required item is often used for correcting one’s own work or correcting a peer’s.

  • Rain jacket/umbrella

Wet hair and clothes are not going to make you a better student. Always make sure you have one of these items at hand on that inevitable rainy day..

  • Backpack

Need I say more? Fun things to look for in your backpack: waterproof exterior, padding, and laptop pocket.

  • Gym bag

There are many options for gym bags including drawstring bags, duffel bags, or backpacks.

  • Lunch Box

Although some kids buy their lunch at school, packing a lunch is great option for kids who have any dietary restrictions or just like the food they can get at home. These days some lunch bags are even meant to be packed the night before then stored in the freezer with the food which makes for a quick exit in the morning.

  • Textbooks

These can be ordered online with links available on a school’s website.

  • Walking shoes

Though it may not seem like it, students walk a lot on a school day. It will make a big difference to their learning and general amiability to have comfortable shoes to walk in throughout the school day.

  • Phone charger

Because students often need to be in touch with a ride or a parent needs to contact a child at an after school event such as a game or match, I recommend a phone charger be kept in a student’s backpack in case their phone dies.


The beginning of the school year comes with so many tasks and emotions,  it is not worth spending time worrying about what school supplies a student is going to need. While going shopping for school supplies might not sound like the most fun activity,  knowing that a student is prepared for the upcoming school year can help reduce the stress associated with starting class again in the Fall and can become a nice end-of-summer ritual that signals a change in the times.

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Topics: Academics, Health & Wellness, Parenting Tips