Free book bags, activities at annual ‘back to school’ event

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

With the new school year just about a month away, parents and students will prepare by attending the District’s Family and Education Reunion, better known in past years as the Back to School Expo or Extravaganza.

The event will be held on Friday, August 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the High School of the Future, 4021 Parkside Avenue. Thousands of parents, students, and community members will converge on the school grounds for a day filled with food, educational workshops, interactive activities, entertainment, and lots of giveaways, including the perennial favorite, free book bags, donated this year by Office Depot. According to the District, about 6,000 of the bags will be given out along with other school supplies.

This will mark the sixth year that the School District of Philadelphia has collaborated with Radio One to host the event. Other sponsors include Forman Mills, Comcast, and Elliot Lewis. Over 60 vendors will man booths to present their services to attendees. We will also have a table at the event where we will distribute papers and be available to speak with parents about the work we do and how they can become Notebook supporters or members.

The District estimates that in past years the event, which was once held at District headquarters on North Broad Street, has attracted more than 20,000 people throughout the course of the day. At this year’s event attendees can look forward to informational workshops that will help students prepare for the school year, music, entertainment, and a series of fun-filled activities that include a petting zoo offered by the Philadelphia Zoo, information workshops from the Please Touch Museum, an interactive truck provided by SEPTA, a 76ers basketball clinic, a family arts workshop compliments of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and much more.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Notebook’s table, please contact Shawn Phillips, advertising sales/business manager, at or 215-951-0330 ext. 2160.

Representatives from the District’s Office of Student Placement and Enrollment will also be at the event to offer on-site registration for students wanting to register at their neighborhood school for the 2013-14 school year. Parents must bring all required documents to the event in order to complete registration. A list of required documents can be found here.