School is cool: One-stop shop to get all back to school info

Published on Tuesday, 12 August 2014 21:48 - Written by Emily Guevara

Parents and students looking to prepare for the new school year have just the opportunity this week.

The free #School is Cool event at Harvey Convention Center will offer information, services and sales to meet each family’s back-to-school needs.

The center will be divided into seven areas with about 120 booths related to a various needs.

These include immunizations, free dental screenings, nutrition, health and wellness information, afterschool activities, transportation info, fingerprinting and safety, college preparation, school lunch registration, haircuts and a school uniform fashion show. Goodwill plans to set up a mobile store as well.

“We just want to have as much information available for students and for parents at one place so they can get all they need to start off the school year successfully,” Tyler ISD spokeswoman Dawn Parnell said.

In addition to the resources onsite, the first 350 children who arrive after 5 p.m. will get a free backpack filled with school supplies. Raffle drawings and a grand-prize bicycle giveaway also are planned.

The backpack and school supply donations came first from city employees followed by several companies, institutions and individuals.

The latter include: Summit Industrial Products, Tyler Pipe, Suddenlink, Eastman Chemical in Longview, Texas College and Kimberly Ashley of UT Health Northeast.

About 30 people have been planning this event since the spring. The idea for it came out of the new education chapter in the city’s Tyler 1st plan.

Event sponsors are Brookshire’s, the Tyler ISD Council PTA, NET Health, Tyler Area Business Education Council, City of Tyler and Tyler ISD.

“The main thing that I hope comes out of it is that families feel more prepared and confident to start the school year off right so they’re getting all of the services that they need,” said Christi Khalaf, executive director of the Tyler Area Business Education Council. “They’re getting some great information and they feel like they’re armed with the appropriate tools to have a successful school year.”