It’s the start of a new school year for students, staff and administrators in the Escalon Unified School District. Today, Wednesday, Aug. 13 is the first day of classes on all campuses.
A busy summer full of improvement projects and maintenance efforts – with some construction still ongoing at Escalon High School – have helped get the various campuses into shape to start the year.
“It is looking good, there are a few little issues, we are waiting on some furniture for some classrooms at the high school, that should be here within a week,” Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Ron Costa said of high school construction still under way. “We have nine classrooms done, there are supposed to be 10 done but one has been held off because of some changes that occurred.”
The classrooms completed have gotten a virtual facelift and are now more user-friendly, said Costa, and were done as part of the district’s bond issue list of projects.
Costa said work will continue on a series of rooms at the high school during the year, with the construction areas cordoned off.
The year also will see the arrival of several new teachers, at all levels and on many campuses.
“We have 19 new teachers at all sites, some have been replaced due to retirements, others have moved, some have been promoted within the district or made the move to other districts,” Costa said. “We also have hired new personnel to help with struggling learners, we have hired those aides at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.”
School bells are ringing on all campuses today for the start of the year.
Collegeville Elementary runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Van Allen Elementary from 8:10 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. and Farmington Elementary from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At Dent Elementary, fourth and fifth graders start at 8:15 a.m., second and third graders at 8:20 a.m. and the transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade begin at 8:30 a.m. Dismissal times are 11:30 a.m. for transitional kindergarten, 2:10 a.m. for kindergarten through second grade, 2:15 p.m. for third through fifth graders.
El Portal Middle School runs from 8:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. and Escalon High School’s regular day runs from 8:10 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.
“Last Friday was a full day teacher orientation, we met in the district office all morning, went over policies and procedures, reviewed curriculum, special ed and 504 procedures,” noted Costa. “In the afternoon, the new teachers met with their site principals, went through site specific issues.”
Monday was the first day back for all teachers, with a staff meeting at 11 a.m., with Tuesday a final day of classroom prep for teachers as well as a staff barbecue and health fair before the students come back today.
“I saw a lot of smiling faces, teachers anxious to get going,” Costa said.
He added that there is a positive feel to the start of the year, and the district is moving forward with a new theme.
“The saying is ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’ but we have to believe it, then we’ll see it,” Costa explained. “We believe we are doing a fantastic job with our kids. If we continue to do it, we will see results.”