It’s time to grab those backpacks and have those books ready — local children are going back to school. The first day of classes for Prosper Independent School District begins on Monday, Aug. 14, and this week students will have the opportunity to get to know their classmates and teachers for the upcoming year at Prosper’s Meet the Teacher Event at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Associate Superintendent Holly Ferguson said Meet the Teacher night allows students and parents to get a feel for what each school is like, but it’s doubly important due to the number of new students coming into the classroom this year.

“Since we’ve got so many new kiddos coming to us, we want to make sure they have the chance to connect with us and other families and see who is in their class, and if their schedules line up so they can start making those connections within the Prosper community, not only the parents but also, most importantly the students,” Ferguson said.

The elementary campuses in the district will have a slew of programs and activities set up in their cafeterias, and child care will also be available to parents through the district after-school program Alphabet, Ferguson said.

“It’s a family event,” Ferguson said. “… We’re usually packed, that’s why we have to do an hour and a half-long event because people have to park and a lot of families will bring grandparents along with them. … So it’s exciting, there’s so much energy in the building and it’s a blast.”

In the same vein, something new this year is an ice cream social that will take place at the high school from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 12. High school students will be able to meet other people in their lunch and meet people in some of their classes after picking up their schedules.

“Especially with new administrators and all of that, we want to make sure they’re getting that welcome feel,” Ferguson said.

She continued, pointing out that the Meet the Teacher Event is not only beneficial for families and students, but also the district’s teachers.

“It’s those first impressions and being able to connect with the kiddos,” Ferguson said. “… There’s nothing more powerful than having that face to a name, to be able to see how excited they (the students) are and sometimes they might be anxious, because they’re a kiddo that’s moving. It allows our teachers to be best prepared for what they’re going to need to do to help that child with that transition if they are moving and they’re struggling with the move.”

The event is also helpful for teachers and parents to establish a partnership before the school year officially gets going, she said, which is what teachers strive for to help students get the most out of their school year.

“It’s a win-win all the way around,” she said.

Something to note is that Prosper’s Meet the Teacher night is an event that draws a crowd — even though it’s not mandatory for parents or students at all. Ferguson said it’s an event that’s only highly encouraged to attend.

“We want them to be able to get those first experiences on the campuses, meet their principals, assistant principal and most importantly their teacher that has been assigned,” she said.

She said it speaks to the level of parent involvement seen at the school district that so many come for this event.

“That’s one of the blessings at Prosper ISD is we never have issues with parent participation,” Ferguson said. “Our parents are so supportive and fully involved and want to be a part of their kids’ education, and I can’t think of a better situation than what we are, because we truly have that partnership with not only the community but also with our parents, and it just makes our kids stronger and achieve more.”

The Meet the Teacher Event will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 at each student’s campus and classroom.