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Time to go back to school
With a quiver in his voice, a little kindergarten student in Becky Perry's class at Richfield Elementary School asked, "When is my mom going to be here?"
"Very soon," said Perry, reassuring the youngster as he experienced his first day at school on Tuesday.
Across the hall, third-grade teacher Kathy Spannaus was introducing her room of students to what they will be learning this year.
"I have a lot of students, but I expect it to be a good year," she stated.
During the week similar scenes will take place in schools in and around Corning as students, kindergartners through seniors, step onto campuses ready for a year of academic education.
"We are looking forward to a great school year," said Richfield School Superintendent/Principal Rich Gifford. "Richfield is now a No Excuses University School and a California GEAR UP School."
He said these two programs will be used together to further the school's College-Going emphasis and achievement.
"We are also continuing our efforts on literacy through the Tehama Read initiative. Our goal is to have all students proficient in reading, writing and mathematics," Gifford stated.
Corning Union Elementary School District Superintendent Catherine Reimer said the district laid the ground work last year that has prepared it to start the 2012-13 year with a "very refined focus."
The focus is keyed into four areas — cl mate and culture including positive behavioral intervention and support; learning centers at all school sites to address early academic intervention and provide support and assistance; getting ready for the new common core state standards; and initiating instructional classroom rounds.
"The instructional rounds will provide teachers and administrators an opportunity to travel from classroom to classroom to assess instruction, and find solutions and refined improvements where needed," Reimer explained.
She said she is very excited about the school year.
"We have a staff of enthusiastic new and veteran teachers ready to teach our students," Reimer said. "I'm also pleased to report that according to the 2011-12 preliminary state testing results, our district scores are up again this year, particularly at Maywood Middle School."
Like many elementary school districts, Corning's is starting the transitional kindergarten program.
"We have decided to make our transitional program be a combination class of kindergarten/transitional kindergarten instead of keeping them separate, and that is the case at all of our site, except Maywood of course," Reimer said.
This will be the first year for the district to take sixth-grade students out of Maywood Middle School and place them in the other school sites of Woodson, Olive View, West Street and Rancho Tehama. Woodson is also, for the first time, a kindergarten through eighth-grade school.
There are also changes at Corning Union High School District as it opens it doors to students with a new superintendent at the helm.
Superintendent John Burch started on July 1, and has been busy all summer preparing for the new school year.
"We have an enrollment about the same as last year, but we don't really know for sure until the bodies show up," he said. "I plan on spending a lot of time in the classrooms during the beginning of the year to learn what teachers are doing and to see was modifications and advancements we can plan for that will benefit our curriculum."
Like all other school districts in the are, the outlook on the budget is greatly dependent on the results of November's election.
"That will be a big determination as to the financial future. But, no matter the outcome, this district will work together to stay fiscally solvent and provide an excellent education to our students," Burch stated.