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Opinion: First Day of School Coming Up

And never too early for parents to get involved.

The first day of school in most of Northern Virginia is Tuesday, Sept. 4. We don't agree with having the General Assembly dictate the first day of school, requiring the start date to be after Labor Day, but starting school after Labor Day does seem more hospitable than the Aug. 27 start in many other areas.

Attending Back to School Night and making contact with teachers is one of the most important things parents can do to set up the school year for success. Back to School Nights begin the first week of September. Find the date for yours:

Fairfax County http://www.fcps.edu/news/backtoschool/.

This school year will be the last for Superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools Jack Dale, who has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2013. The School Board will spend much of the coming months in the search and selection of the new superintendent.

In Fairfax County, students will be encouraged to BYOD. That's "bring your own device." With written parental permission, students will be allowed to connect to school wireless with their smart phones, tablets and laptops. Students and parents should remember that school officials will be able to examine those devices and discipline students for content and activities that are in violation of conduct rules and act accordingly. More at http://www.fcps.edu/it/byod

Reminder: Check Voter Status

While Northern Virginia has remarkable rates of voter registration, many changes to polling places, political district boundaries and rules for voting in Virginia, make it worth double checking your status now. Virginia's front seat role at the Republican National Convention serves as a reminder that every Virginia vote cast will count in November.

To vote on Election Day, you must be registered at your current address no later than Oct. 15, 2012. You can check your registration status online by going to www.sbe.virginia.gov. There you can also download a voter registration form and mail it to your local elections office address.

Every Virginia voter should expect a new voter identification card in the mail at the beginning of October, very close to the Oct. 15 deadline, so better to check now.

Mail or FAX updates to your local Electoral Board.

Fairfax County Board of Elections, 703-222-0776, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb/

12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Suite 232, Fairfax, 22035; FAX 703-324-2205; email voting@fairfaxcounty.gov

City of Fairfax General Registrar, 703-385-7890, http://www.fairfaxva.gov/Registrar/GeneralRegistrar.asp

10455 Armstrong Street, Sisson House, Fairfax, 22030; FAX 703-591-8364; email kevin.linehan@fairfaxva.gov

Correction: Last week's Newcomers and Community Guide omitted the name of an independent candidate, Mark T. Gibson, running for U.S. House of Representatives in the 11th District. The same paragraph also mistakenly referred to that district by the wrong district number in a second reference. The correction have been made in our online and PDF editions.