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School Bells Ring Monday
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Only a few days of summer vacation remain before the start of the 2011-2012 school year, with doors ready to open on all Escalon Unified School District campuses on Monday, Aug. 15.

Hours vary by school site and, in some cases, by grade level as well.

Escalon High School has its pre-period at 7:23 a.m. with the start of the traditional school day, first period, at 8:15 a.m. Dismissal time is 3:05 p.m. and this year, the reading period for the school will be at the end of the day. A back to school night for the high school Cougars is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 24. Jason Maggard is principal at Escalon High and Dave Lattig returns as assistant principal. Lattig also serves as principal at Vista High, the district's continuation high school. Classes there run from 9:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

El Portal Middle School (Panthers) has its opening bell at 8:40 a.m. and classes are dismissed at 3:10 p.m. with a back to school night on Wednesday, Aug. 17. El Portal also has an after school program for its sixth through eighth grade students. Leading El Portal are principal Mark Vos and assistant principal Trish Anderson.

At Dent Elementary, kindergarten students attend from 8:40 a.m. to 2:10 p.m., first through third graders go from 8:30 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. and the fourth and fifth grade classes run from 8:15 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. The school will host its back to school night on Thursday, Aug. 18 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and principal for the Dent Dragons is Kendra Helsley.

Collegeville (Cubs) and Farmington (Roadrunners) have Bob Amato back to serve as principal at both rural elementary campuses. Collegeville students attend from 8:15 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. and there is an after school program available there for students until 5 p.m. They will also host a 'Welcome Back' to school night tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 10 starting with a hot dog dinner served up at 6 p.m., featuring a hot dog, chips and drink for $3 per person. Kindergarten orientation will be at 6:30 p.m. and all students and families can attend to learn class assignments and get information about the after school program.

At Farmington, the school day runs from 8 a.m. until 2:04 p.m. with an after school program there as well until 5 p.m., open to all students. The Farmington back to school night will be Thursday, Aug. 11 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with the hot dog dinner at 6 p.m., followed by classroom visits.

Van Allen Elementary, at the corner of Highway 120 and Van Allen Road west of the city, welcomes students and families for back to school night on Thursday, Aug. 11 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with parents able to turn in registration information and paperwork at that time, in addition to picking up classroom and teacher information. The Van Allen Vikings students will attend classes from 8:15 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. and principal is Scott Ferreira.

For more information about the opening of school and the district's after school programs, contact individual school sites: Escalon High School 838-7073; El Portal 838-7095; Dent 838-7031; Collegeville 941-2007; Farmington 886-5344; Van Allen, 838-2931.

Teachers have been busy getting classrooms ready for students over the past couple of weeks and a district barbecue will be offered for all staff members on Friday, Aug. 12 with the district administrative personnel manning the barbecue grill.

"I am excited about the start of the new school year," said Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Ron Costa. "Even with the challenges that lie ahead, Escalon Unified continues to be a strong school district with a dedicated staff who are committed to assisting our students reach new heights both in and out of the classroom."