NEW BRITAIN - As the first day of school nears, school officials want to remind parents of the district’s new uniform policy.
New Britain elementary and middle schools will now have a universal uniform policy consisting of Navy blue or white collared polo-style tops with Navy blue or khaki bottoms.
Elementary and middle schools in the city have had individual uniform policies in the past. For example, students at Holmes Elementary School could previously wear red or white tops to school while students at Lincoln Elementary School were allowed to wear yellow, light blue or white tops. Consistent uniforms will make it easier for students transferring from one school to another within the district, officials explained when the policy was announced earlier this year.
Schools Superintendent Nancy Sarra echoed this sentiment in a post on the school district’s website this week.
“Due to the transiency of the students in our district, we are adopting the universal uniform to alleviate the financial burden of having to buy new uniforms if your child moves to a different school in district,” Sarra said in the post. “This also gives our students across the district a unified and consistent appearance.”
For now, the uniform policy will not be coming to New Britain High School. Last year was the first year that hooded sweatshirts were not allowed in the district. Though there was a learning curve at first while parents and students got used to the ban, the policy was a success in its first year, the district’s public relations specialist, Matt Cannata, said.
Students currently have a name tag on their shirts with their first name prominently displayed. Name tags are a point of emphasis for the district, and will remain in the universal uniform policy. Sarra said it’s important that administrators, teachers and faculty members know the children regardless of what they’re wearing.
Parents and students were first made aware of the school district’s intent to switch to this universal uniform policy during the 2016-2017 school year. Principals at elementary and middle schools in the district also contacted parents to notify them a change was coming.
The first day of school is Aug. 28, so there is still time to pick up uniforms for the school year.
Cannata said parents should keep an eye on the school district’s Facebook page, as they often post about stores that are having sales. Cannata said Old Navy, JC Penney and Target have been good locations to find affordable tops and bottoms.
The school district won’t have a uniform swap this year at its annual “Back to School Bash,” but students can pick up white-collared shirts at next week’s Latin Festival. Carmelo Rodriguez, president of the Latino Coalition and one of the event’s organizers, said they were collecting money to purchase hundreds of shirts for New Britain students who may need them.
They will be available on a first come, first served basis, but Rodriguez said organizers hope to have about 500 shirts available by the Aug. 19 event. There will also be school supplies and backpacks for students at the festival.
The uniform policy will be enforced on a case by case basis at each individual school. Since this is a transition - going from old uniforms to new ones - there will be a grace period for students who don’t have uniforms yet. Students won’t be sent home on the first day of school because they don’t have a blue shirt, for example.
Families that may be faced with financial difficulty in purchasing new uniforms should submit a written request for assistance to their school principal specifying the clothing needed, along with a statement of financial need.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.