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Posted August 9, 2017 | 3:25 PM

4 Things to Know Before the First Bell Rings

New and important programs to start the year off right

Thursday, Aug. 10, is the first day of classes for students who attend Hillsborough County public schools. Are you ready?

Here are four things to know:

  1. Public school students in grades K-12 now can access most materials at local libraries, even without a library card. HAAL Pass (Hillsborough All Access Libraries) requires only a student's seven-digit ID number and a PIN to enter a world of learning. Launched Aug. 4, HAAL Pass is a partnership between Hillsborough County Public Schools and the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative that automatically gives every student access to library resources.

  2. It's not too late to sign up children and teens for the Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation After-School Program. It's a safe, fun, and economical way for students to play, compete, and do homework after a day of classes. There are traditional programs and ones for children with disabilities.

  3. Low-income families may apply to enter children up to 5 years old in Hillsborough County's Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Head Start prepares children ages 3 to 5 years old for school by offering indoor and outdoor play and a variety of learning experiences. Early Head Start is for children up to 35 months, and provides intellectual, emotional, and social activities. The Expectant Parent Program, a component of Early Head Start, works with expectant mothers to encourage a healthy birth and happy home for newborns and their families.

  4. As students make their way to and from campus, it's important for them to follow safety tips when walking or riding a bicycle. It's also vital for motorists to remain alert with more children and teens moving along and crossing local roads.

     

Photo information: Students celebrate with library and school officials at the Aug. 4 unveiling of the HAAL Pass program.