As summer vacation comes to a close, kids are enjoying their last taste of freedom as its back to the classroom next week for elementary and high school students in and around Corning. Backpacks are getting filled with new notebooks, pencils and pens, parents are shopping for new school clothes, and teachers are readying their classrooms for another year of education.
Rick Fitzpatrick, Corning Union Elementary School District superintendent said over the summer the district has been getting ready for the new school year.
The district continues to participate in the Promise Neighborhood Grant through the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, along with Corning High School.
“We are starting the new school year with 13 new teachers in schools across the district, also five new classified employees,” Fitzpatrick said. “Andrew Fisher has joined us as the new Vice Principal at Maywood Middle School.”
The district is starting the year with an anticipated enrollment of 2,007, down about 60 students from last year.
“But we have to wait and see how the first week of school pans out. That number may go up or it may go down,” Fitzpatrick explained.
He said the district was busy over the summer repainting West Street School, replacing older HVAC systems at both West Street and Maywood campuses, replacing the playground surface at West Street, and at Rancho Tehama Elementary School updating the blacktop and painting the playground.
The district ismoving forward on phase one of the plan to build a gymnasium at West Street School, which includes knocking down the current district office on South Street and building a new office on property right across the street and adding additional parking.
“This is the most exciting time of the year for educators, we can’t wait for students to be back on campus,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are very fortunate to have a wonderful administration, faculty and staff that this district.”
Corning High School is starting the new year with a five new teachers and seven new classrooms, according to Corning Union High School Principal Charlie Troughton
“Our administration team is really excited about this new year,” Troughton said. “We look forward to welcoming students back to the campus, working with our great staff and new programs. Our school morale is very high, and we are ready to move and go forward.”
Over the summer the school’s old J Wing was removed and seven new permanent modular classrooms constructed.
Troughton said the new wing of classrooms will be ready for the first day of school and are a great addition to the campus. The new wing was funded through Measure K bond monies.
“We have new new teachers, one of which is replacing a teacher who retired,” he added. “We are preparing for a growing student population as enrollment continues to climbed. We expect an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students at the start of this school year.”
Replacing biology teacher Brad Martin, who retired, is Shaun Fredrickson. Other new teachers are Nate Borer in the Skill Center, Megan White in Special Education, Emily Dale in the Agriculture Department, and Ther Xiong as a Social Science teacher.
Troughton said the district’s focus in terms of students remains on providing good opportunities for college and career preparation, including College Preparation classes and a growing and advancing Career Technology Education Program.
Everything is ready to go for Richfield Elementary School to open its doors to its enrollment of approximately 245 students, said Jeff Scheeley, Richfield Elementary School District superintendent/principal.
The school starts on Aug. 15 with two new teachers, Michelle Dutra in eighth-grade and Claudia Trout as the ELD coordinator/teacher.
“We made several improvements to the campus over the summer,” Scheeley added. “We installed solar panels, safety glass and other safety-related improvements across the campus, and we have implemented a new math curriculum.”
He said the school’s administration and faculty are thrilled to welcome a new batch of kindergarten students.
“We have a strong staff of teachers and paraprofessional as we go into this new school year. We welcome students back to a clean and safe campus where we will be focusing hard on a strong academic program and support for student emotional and social health,” Scheeley stated.
Kirkwood, Elkins and Flournoy elementary schools are also ready to welcome students back to their rural school campuses where enrollment might be less than the bigger schools, but provide the ability to teach in classrooms with smaller student numbers.