A back-to-school supply list for high school – Start the school year right.


What’s the smart way to shop for school supplies? Eliminate the guesswork by getting a list from your child’s teacher ahead of time or waiting until school starts to find out what’s actually required. The teacher may recommend specific brands, sizes, or quantities, but even if the list isn’t available, you can still take advantage of back-to-school sales (many states offer “tax-free days” during this season) by sticking to the basics recommended below. And remember, you can’t go wrong with tools that help kids get — and stay — organized.

The basics

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  • Several three-ring binders (Some teachers require that a binder is used exclusively for their class.)
  • Three-hole punch (a regular one or one that fits in a three-ring binder)
  • Pencil case that fits in a binder
  • Binder dividers (The kind with pockets are good for loose papers.)
  • Pocket folders
  • Folders that fit in binders
  • Calendar or planner for scheduling or recording assignments
  • A sturdy, supportive backpack (Some schools do not permit rolling backpacks because of space considerations, so check with your school before considering this option.)
  • Two combination locks (If the school lockers do not have built-in locks, your child might need one for the hallway and one for the gym.)

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  • Index cards, ruled and unruled (These are great for making flash cards.)
  • Highlighters
  • Calculator or mobile phone with a calculator. Check with the math teacher first before investing in an expensive calculator. Graphing calculators, for example, are required in some middle and high school math classes. Teachers advise parents not to buy a calculator with more functions than your students will use. Also, check with the teacher to determine the policy on mobile phones that have calculators, and determine whether your child will use it responsibly.

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Home computer supplies

Nice to have

  • Stainless steel water bottle (Avoid plastic bottles that contain bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, birth defects and cancer.)
  • Posterboard for visual aid presentations
  • Flash drive for powerpoint presentations
  • Locker organizer (and other accessories)