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Whether you’re approaching back-to-school shopping as a supportive parent or one of the many educational professionals who care for students in the Bay State, here is a heads up on some of the trends this season.

At Educators Insurance, we look at the back-to-school season through a variety of lenses. As the preferred insurance agent for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, we want to help members evaluate their insurance coverage to appropriately reflect the new gadgets their children may be bringing to class this fall. We also want to help educators prepare for that onslaught in the classroom. Here’s what we’re seeing this season.

Encouraging new behaviors

Just like New Year’s Eve brings resolutions for adults, a new school year is a time for many students to work toward new goals in academic growth, health and wellness and social engagement. Many retailers try to capitalize on this time and not necessarily just for monetary benefit. For the second year in a row, Office Depot is emblazoning its back-to-school merchandise with themes from an anti-bullying initiative. Last year, the retailer teamed with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to launch the effort and this year boy band One Direction lends its faces to the cause.

Massachusetts-based Keds is an athletic footwear brand trying to capitalize on the season, which the industry notes as the biggest time of year for girls to shop for athletic footwear. Keds is launching new products in mid-August as a way to promote physical activity and footwear to match.

New investments in technology

In 2012, the National Retail Federation found that the parents of school-age children spent nearly $700 per student on new backpacks, sneakers, notebooks, clothes and “gear” their children needed. That increasingly includes technology like smart phones, tablets and laptops — items that may not be included in the back-to-school category. Education Week reported earlier this summer that nearly a quarter of students K – 12 carry a smart phone to school every day — and that number jumps to 51% when we look at just high school students.

If you’re a parent, consider the implications, advantages and actual use of technology by your student. Your agent at Educators Insurance can also help you evaluate the financial impact of those decisions by reviewing your homeowners’ policy to ensure it covers the loss or theft of new technology purchases —whether they go to school or just stay at home.

Posted 2:07 PM

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