Back to School Extravaganza

PHILADELPHIA - August 5, 2011

When 5-year-old Diamond Waters was asked what she was doing here, her answer was simple and full of excitement.

"I'm getting lots of stuff!"

And all that "stuff" she referred to was free. Brand new backpacks, books and art supplies flew off the tables at the event hosted by the Philadelphia School District. Information desks helped some 20 thousand people with school-related questions and workshops focused on healthy eating, school safety and educational options.

"Parents come and we give them education and resources," said Karren Dunkley, the Deputy Chief of the School Board of Philadelphia. "For example, where is my child attending school? What kinds of literacy activities can I do at home? What can I expect to see in the classroom?"

This sort of information is clearly helpful for mothers sending their children off to school.

"I need to get as much information, as much resources that the public school has," said Delores Brown-Waters. "A lot of people talk about the private but you get a lot more information when you come to public school. They just have so much more resources."

A surprising number of kids say they are ready to go back to school.

"I'm not ready for summer to end, but I'm OK with school beginning to meet new friends at my new high school," said 14-year-old Sean Volcy.

Many parents seemed very focused on their kids' education and getting all the information they can to make this school year start off on the right foot. But ready or not, they don't have a lot of time until school starts up again. The first day for kids to go back to school in the Philadelphia School District is September 6.

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