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Above: A New Yorker back to school cover from September 2012

Every year starting about now, media outlets start putting out back-to-school stories and packages built around the end of summer and the return to school.  

Sometimes they’re great — inspired work that’s taken months and is timed for maximum reader attention. The New Yorker cover above is thoughtful and provocative, for example. 

Oftentimes, however, back to school stories are predictable, obligatory, or ridiculous.

There are a few #BTS15 stories that have already run, generally focusing on the economics of the season: The Best Back-to-School Sales of 2015 (US News); Will Athleisure, Big Box Retailers Lead The Class In Back-To-School? (Forbes); 18 States Where You Can Do Your Back-to-School Shopping Tax-Free (St. Louis Today).

A few others that have already been published are a bit more substantive: Back-to-School vaccination debate  (Tucson News); Summer Bridge Programs Help Ease Freshmen Into High School (US News); Why schools are rushing to hire more bilingual teachers (Fusion).

Here are some of the stories that I’m guessing we’ll see, for better or worse, during Back To School 2015:

*Beat sweetener profiles featuring administrators or appointed officials taking on new duties or wrapping up long runs: Chris Cerf takes over in Newark. Forrest Claypool takes over in Chicago. Carmen Farina heads into her second full year. Arne Duncan heads into his last full school year as EdSec.  

*Gee whiz/nightmare education technology stories: Bluetooth earpieces for teachers. Apple Watches for students (or teachers). See also: 3D printers, drones, hacked data, cyberbullying.

*Half-baked Common Core speculation: What happens next for the standards and tests? How will states and districts weather the reaction to the new test scores coming back?

*Fledgling effort/min-trend stories: Reducing suspensions, beefed up/reduced school security, equalizing SPED referrals, piloting later start times, transgendered students/teachers, 

*School fashion: Backpacks are back, or out entirely. Neon is back, or out entirely. Pencils are back. Terrycloth headbands, anyone? Camo.

Feel free to add your own suggestions or corrections.  And if you feel like it, use #BTS15 as a hashtag to share around the stories you see (or write) this back to school season. Everyone else already is.

Related posts: Kid President’s Back To School Message (2013); Back To School Drones (2012); Top Ten Worst (Most Likely) Back To School Stories (2013).

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at