It's time again for students to sharpen their pencils (or gather their felt tips), buy their notebooks and start thinking about that perennial essay -- "What I Did During the Summer."

For parents, it means time to make sure their children's immunization records are complete and on file with the school system. This year the system insists that all youngsters be immunized before entering school.

Parents whose children's shots have not been completed should call 673-6700 for centers in their neighborhood.

To help parents and students prepare for the new session, The District Weekly has prepared a tear-and-save School Guide with helpful information about the school system, including the phone numbers and special programs.

The District school system offers a free "Welcome to Our Schools" handbook, which provides information for parents and students about the school system.

Parents of young children can obtain another booklet entitled "Early Childhood Handbook" by calling the schools at 724-5501.

For those parents and students new to the school system, students will be required to show proof of their date of birth with a birth certificate or passport, and must have a current record of immunization against diphtheria, meales, German measles, mumps, polio and tetanus.

New to the system or not, all parents will be required to fill out a D.C. public schools entry form for each child they register. The form, which will either be mailed by the system or brought home by pupils, is a child's official school registration. It contains information the school will need in case of an emergency.

Once the term begins, the school system urges parents to visit their local schools and see what's going on. The system has a volunteer program in which parents can work as assistants in the classroom, in bilingual education, in the library, the cafeteria, halls and playgrounds.

Parents can volunteer as trip monitors, physical education assistants and reading helpers. For more information, call the Division of Adult and Continuing Education at 724-4209.