Superintendents in the Lyon County and Carson City schools districts said schools are off to a good start this year.
“I’ve never experienced a first day of school I didn’t like,” said Richard Stokes, superintendent of the Carson City School District. “I thought it went great. There was a lot of excitement. Of course, there’s always high expectations for the year.”
Keith Savage, superintendent of the Lyon County School District, and his staff visited all 17 schools in the district Monday, traveling about 110 miles.
“We stopped in at each of the schools and talked with the principals,” Savage said. “We’ve had a great start to the school year.”
He said attendance numbers are still coming in from schools throughout Lyon County, and officials there are reluctant to make any predictions about student population, which has been steadily declining in recent years.
“We don’t have any assumptions yet,” Savage said.
Stokes said about a dozen more students attended the first day of school this year than last year, but that those numbers should fluctuate in the first weeks of school.
The official count for both districts will be taken Sept. 13, the fourth Friday of the school year. The number of students who show up that day is used to determine how much money each district receives from the state.
In Carson City, enrollment increased by 41 students last year, the first growth the district has seen in nearly a decade.
“We hope to see that trend continue when we hit count day,” Stokes said. “We’re being optimistic, but we don’t expect it to be a huge number.”
He said the biggest change this year is the addition of full-day kindergarten. Parents were given the choice to go to full-day or remain on the half-day-kindergarten schedule.
The majority of parents selected the all-day class, Stokes said, leaving only two or three half-day sessions throughout the district.
“We are trying to check our enrollment and to make sure we have enough resources and teachers to adapt to the needs,” he said. “We’ve only had a few hiccups.”
Lyon County made the switch to full-day kindergarten last year in an effort to meet the increased rigor of the Common Core Standards outlined by the Nevada State Department of Eduction, Savage said.
“It was amazing the progress the kindergartners made,” he said. “Kindergarten is becoming the new first grade. We’re seeing the majority of our students reading by the end of the year.”
As students have returned to classes, Stokes said, it is important for drivers to keep an eye out for them along roads and to observe the 15 mph speed limits in school zones.
“We want to make sure everyone stays safe,” he said.