A parent and students check out the bulletin board outside the office at Bedell Elementary School to find out where to go for the first day of classes. The first day of school was only a half-day for students and most of that time was spent on orientation and getting to know each other.
Santa Paula students return to
school after a long, hot summer
August 15, 2014
Santa Paula News
The 2014-15 school year officially got underway Wednesday in the Santa Paula Unified School District (SPUSD).
Jeff Robinson, Principal at Thelma Bedell School said they were ready for the kids to return to the classroom. He said things were a bit hectic Tuesday. Some parents wanted to know who their child were going to have as a teacher this year. He noted that they want to be fair to everybody and didn’t post class assignments until after 5:00 pm Tuesday. “You want to tell the kids who their teachers are going to be but you want to do that at an optimum time,” he said.
The first day of school was only a half-day for students and most of that time was spent on orientation and getting to know each other. Robinson added that he loves all the smiling faces and tries to visit all the rooms.
Like all of the elementary schools in the SPUSD, uniforms are now required at all schools. Bedell started with uniforms last year with about half the students participating. “Now we’re going to try to go full-on uniforms,” Robinson added. He believes they have about 90 percent positive response.
Lilly Arana is a 4th grade student in Mia Emhardt’s class. She said the most exciting thing for her in coming back to school was getting to know about people from around the world. She added that she was glad to be back in school. Matias Hernandez is the father of a Bedell student. How does he feel about school starting? “Happy and a little nervous for her,” he said. His daughter is the last of his children in elementary school.
Jodie Green is a 2nd grade teacher with 15 years experience and Emhardt has 25 years of teaching background. They both said the first day of school is exciting. Emhardt noted, “It’s a fun atmosphere.” They both added that it is a little stressful, “Especially with the younger kids when you have criers not ready to leave mom yet,” Green said. “There’s a big difference in the lower grades where they’re hanging onto mom and the upper grades where they’re running away from mom.” They both said that by third grade most kids are ready to come back to school.
Both teachers are excited about fully implementing Common Core standards this year. Emhardt said the kids were a little stressed last year with the new method of teaching math. She said her 4th grade students grew to love math lessons. “It was more games, it was interactive, but in the beginning they were stressed about it,” she added. The pair said that the whole school toured the campus by grade. Information was passed on at different stations, from the custodian to the principal and office manager, all talking about school rules.
Other schools reported a smooth opening day. Santa Paula High School Principal Elizabeth Garcia said things were extremely smooth. “All the students went to their first period this morning, got their schedules and everything went off without a hitch,” she said. Robin Gillette, Principal of Renaissance High School noted that the first day was going very well. “About 50 percent of our students are new to us this year,” she said. She added that they’ll end up with somewhere between 120 and 130 students. Gillette noted that, even though their enrollment holds steady, they can have as many as 200 students total come through the doors in a school year.
Superintendent Alfonso Gamino said things went great the first day. “I’m very excited with the start of the new year,” he added. With the district-wide K-5 school uniform policy in place Gamino said he’s found parents to be very supportive and he’s pleased with the reaction.