The first day of school is approaching and sixth grade social studies teacher Will Acosta says he hopes kids will come prepared to learn.

"Students need to have pencil and paper and be ready to write and be engaged from the very first day," Acosta said.

For some students, that may be easier said than done.

"School supplies and student performance go hand in hand," he said.

Acosta says that reflects in the classroom.

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"When a student doesn't have the supplies they need they're more prone to act out in class. A lot of times there might be some embarrassment or shame and they don't want to ask the teacher or peer for it," Acosta said.

Principal of Howard Middle School Kevin Adams says the problem has a real effect on students.

"Unfortunately we live in a community where there is circumstances that make it difficult for students to be as prepared as they want to be or even as their parents want them to be," Adams said.

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He says it is something that needs to be acknowledged, not ignored.

"We know that having the necessary supplies sets the stage for a better year," Adams said.

Acosta says to have a better year, the classroom needs to be a place students can feel comfortable in.

"Without that relationship there, you can be quick to judge students and not give them the benefit of the doubt which is a dangerous and sad place to be in as a teacher," he said.

Whether it is a backpack, binder, or something as small as a pencil, they are all supplies that provide students the tools they need to reach their full potential.

Principal Adams says he reminds his students to do just that. 

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"I'm counting on you to find that. What is it that's going to take your life and make it special because you're wildly important to our overall success as a school, as a community, and as a world," Adams said.

Acosta says it takes a village to raise the kids, but it is important that they have what they need to succeed.

"Students are the future leaders of our community and our nation and we need to make sure we are taking care of it now and building them up for success down the road," he said.

Operation Back to School kicks off on Friday and 13WMAZ is teaming up with Walmart to help collect school supplies for families in need. Donation bins will be set up around Walmart stores across Central Georgia. 

Click here to find out where you can donate.

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