BACK TO SCHOOL: Teachers and Staff Ready to Welcome Students

Teachers and staff are eagerly waiting to welcome students back to school on Aug. 15 and have been busy preparing for the 2016-17 academic year. When doors open, exciting changes await at many campuses, including the completion of new classrooms and other enhancements to support student academic success.

Staff from across the district will gather Aug. 10 at the Save Mart Center for Convocation 2016. This annual event, supported through community sponsors, brings all 10,000 employees together under one roof to kick off the new year with unifying and inspiring messages.

Fifteen schools will start the new school year with new principals. For more on these new leaders, see page 2.

"I am excited for this new school year to begin because I feel the momentum of last year's successes continuing to move us forward as a district," said Superintendent Michael Hanson. "Our students are graduating in greater numbers than they ever have, our dropouts are down, and we are providing more support for our students who need it the most."

In addition to a different look and new leaders at some campuses, when gates swing open on that first day 10 schools will offer a 30-minute longer school day for more learning. The schools -- Ericson, Ewing, Wishon, Kirk, Roeding, Wilson, Wolters, Aynesworth, Greenberg and Olmos elementary schools -- join 30 campuses already operating as Designated Schools.
And across the district, enhancements brought about by the district's $154 million investment through the Local Control Funding Formula will range from eliminating fifth and sixth grade combination classes to adding social workers for students in foster care to more funds for libraries.

Some of the biggest changes are to Addicott Elementary School, where students will return to a campus that underwent a dramatic, $2.5 million renovation project to upgrade the entire facility, including additional features to serve students with disabilities. Addicott's students include those who are orthopedically impaired, intellectually disabled, have multiple disabilities, are deaf and have other health impairments.

"I am the luckiest person in the district. I get to welcome my families, students and staff back to such an amazing site," said Addicott Principal Katrina Pleshe. "Addicott's the best kept secret in the district, but it's not going to be anymore."

Other facility improvements include:

- Work continues at Bullard High School, with the new north classroom building slated to open in January 2017 and the library and administration buildings ready for the start of school next year, in August 2017.
- New kindergarten building and parking lot at Robinson Elementary School, targeted for completion in the fall of 2016.
- Air conditioning for gyms at Duncan Polytechnical, McLane and Roosevelt high schools.
- Exterior public address systems at Ericson, Homan and Wolters elementary schools and Phoenix Academy.
- Water conservation projects at Fremont, Homan, Roeding and Thomas elementary schools.

- Renovated play courts at Homan Elementary School.
- Air conditioning improvements at Manchester GATE Elementary School.
- Exterior painting at Easterby, Ericson, Heaton, Jefferson, Lane, Norseman, Powers,
Thomas, Wilson, Wishon, Birney and Calwa elementary schools, Baird Middle School, and Bullard TALENT K-8 School.
- Exterior lighting at Ahwahnee, Baird, Computech, Cooper, Fort Miller, Kings Canyon, Scandinavian, Sequoia, Tehipite, Tenaya, Terronez, Tioga, Wawona and Yosemite middle schools.