First day of school brings usual emotions
Summer break has officially come to an end for Carson City kids as students started the first day of school Monday.
The first day was filled with excitement, fear, laughter and tears as parents dropped off their students for the new year. For some parents, the first day of school was new territory for them as well.
“I feel overwhelmed,” said Victoria Plummer. Victoria was dropping off her daughter Alexandria for her first day of kindergarten at Borderwich-Bray Elementary. “I think I have more butterflies than she does.”
“(We are scared for her) for what (Alexandria) will expect, if she will be scared or if she will be strong and outgoing,” added Alexandria’s father Matthew Plummer.
However, most of the students didn’t share the same mind set, and were excited to be back to school. Carson City Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer Jessica Boggan said the first day was going well at Carson Middle School and the students were happy to be back at school.
“I am pretty excited for school to be back because I am happy to see all of their faces,” Boggan said. “The kids are all so excited too. There has been only some crying because lockers won’t open or the new sixth graders got lost, but over all they are excited to be back and see their friends.”
With school back in session, drivers also need to be cautious around the school zones, as the streets and sidewalks will once again be filled with students and parents going to and from school.
“There are kids that walk to school and they may not have the knowledge about using crosswalks and may just run out between cars where you can’t see them,” Boggan said. “If you are going too fast in those areas, you won’t have enough reaction time to be able to stop in time if a child does dart out into the street.”
The school zone signs are posted around every site and while the times per zone differ, expect the 15 mile per hour enforcement to be active around 7:30 to about 9 a.m. and 2:15 to about 3:30 p.m., however, drivers should be paying attention to the individual school zone signs to slow down in those areas.
This new year will also bring some changes to the district for school staff, students and parents.
One of the newest changes the elementary students will see will be an additional recess scheduled into their day.
The changed recess policy was approved by the school board in April, after nearly five months of debate. Previously, students only had two recesses and parents argued that violated the Nevada wellness statutes enacted by the Legislature last year, stating the two 15-minute recesses didn’t give children enough time for the physical activities they required. The students will now have three 15-minute recesses, one in the morning, at lunch and in the afternoon.
“There is evidence that research shows students who have a healthy amount of play and creative play time will do well in school,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes.
The Carson City School District Wellness committee, comprised of both school officials and community members, had discussed the benefits of the additional recess and brought their findings back to the School Board trustees in April, when it was unanimously approved. Stokes then worked with each site principal to accommodate the recess into the school schedules.
“We expect the children will receive it well and we will watch to see if it has any academic impact as well,” Stokes said.
Parents and students will also see changes to the education information system the district uses. This year, the district changed its system from Power School to Infinite Campus, though Carson isn’t the only district to do so. The conversion was implemented across the state so the Nevada Department of Education could better access data and collect information for representation purposes.
“It has been a lot of work, lots of folks have been burning the midnight oil working on this new system,” Stokes said. “It will take us a while to utilize Infinite Campus to the fullest extent, but we are confident in our people and we will work with students and parents to meet their needs.”
No major problems were reported with the switch on the first day of school, Stokes said. Some sites reported minor hiccups, however nothing substantial with the system use.
“We expected to use it the first day but we anticipate there will need to be work to perfect the information and learn to utilize the system to the highest degree,” Stokes said.
There will also be several opportunities for parents and students to learn the new system, however dates are still pending. Families can contact their student’s school for help or contact the district office for help at 775-283-2008.
Stokes said this new school year also marks the year in which the district starts reevaluating its strategic plan. This plan, created every five years, takes community input and district officials to determine what needs to be accomplished within the district in the next five years.
“We are in the last year (of our previous strategic plan) and we want to take steps to utilize patrons and community members to make sure we are moving educational activities according to their desires,” Stokes said. “So we want the public input to build the next installment of the strategic plan.”
There will be several meetings held during the first semester of the school year for the community to attend and voice their opinions. The first meeting is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Carson Middle School cafeteria.
Also with the start of the year, the Carson City School Based Health Center is available for students use, especially for vaccinations and physicals for students and their families. The clinic takes all insurances to make sure all students have access to medical needs. The Health Center is located at 618 W. Musser Street, behind the Gleason building.