By Selwyn Harris
It was par for the course in terms of heading back to school for local parents and students on Monday.
Though no big snafus were reported, Nye County School District Transportation Supervisor Cameron McRae said any problems that were encountered were relatively minor compared to years past.
“To my knowledge, I didn’t hear of any major incidences anywhere within the school district. It was just kids getting on the wrong bus or getting off at the wrong stop. Bus occupancy seemed maybe a little less but it is hard to tell because we won’t know until we take a count again this Friday to see how we did. Quite frankly, it seemed a little more quiet than in the past. It appeared to go relatively well,” he said.
McRae learned firsthand how things were moving along on Monday.
Instead of remaining inside his office, he took to the road to witness how efficient his department was handling what can best be described a “controlled chaos.”
“I wanted to see how some of the routes were going. Just driving around to see how the kids were doing. We had a couple of bus problems that occurred on the road. We were out there just observing to see how the first day went. You can only see so much on the first day,” he said.
During his years directing the transportation department, McRae said it does take some time to get all of the bugs out of the system to make things move along like a well-oiled machine.
He also asked for parents to be patient while he and his department work to get everything running smoothly.
“It generally takes at least the first week or after the first week. Right now a lot of people still take their kids to school and some of those will get back on the bus in the upcoming days,” he said.
Not all classes resumed on Monday.
McRae said kindergartners in Pahrump will start their respective classes on Thursday, which is almost like a new first day of school.
“Thursday will be another thing, especially in the afternoon when we drop the kids off. Due to policy and practice, we have to demand that a competent parent, guardian, or adult meet all kindergarten students at the bus stop. Thursday is kind of like another first day as we get all of the kindergarten kids and take them home. It’s not so bad in the morning for the ones we pick up, but for the afternoon classes where the parents bring them to school and then we take them home, it makes for another interesting day usually,” he said.
During the first week of school some parents may have noticed that their child is assigned to a bus stop that is not the closest to their home.
McRae said that his department makes every reasonable effort to provide families with the convenience of not having to drive further than necessary to arrive at the bus stop.
“We can correct that. If it is truly an error, that can be corrected. All they have to do is call us and point it out, let us check it and when we confirm that is the case, we want them to be as close as they can based upon that,” he said.
McRae also provided an additional reminder to area drivers to remain vigilant and aware of kids along the side of the road in the morning and afternoon hours.
A check of district principals also revealed few hiccups with the first day back.
Hafen Elementary School Principal Todd Nelson said he was excited the new year finally began.
“This is a time for new beginnings in the world of education and for all of us at Hafen there is something special about the opening of a new school year. Our students, new or returning, come to us a year older, a year wiser and represent all that is good with the world. The proverbial slate is wiped clean, providing learners the prime opportunity to refocus, renew, and reinvent their journey to adulthood,” he said.
Evangelyn Visser heads the district’s newest school.
The Manse Elementary School Principal reminded parents of a few new programs she and faculty members are continuing in the new school year.
“I am looking forward to the beginning of another great school year. The students and staff worked hard last year to make our new building a great school and we will continue this year. We will continue with our positive behavior program where kids receive rewards for following the rules. Be respectful, be responsible, and be safe,” she said.
J.G. Johnson Elementary School Principal Jeff Skelton noted that things went remarkably well on Monday.
“The first day of school was five times better than last year. It was much more smooth, the kids seemed happier. We knew each other because we had that big transition between Mt. Charleston and us. It was just awesome because I got to sit down and do some coloring with the kids,” he said.
Skelton did happen to mention that there are just a few minor problems associated with the first day of school.
“It’s just getting all of the kids registered and getting them into the Power School computer program and organizing the files,” he said.
Floyd Elementary School Principal Jason Odegard was also very upbeat about the start of the new school year.
Odegard said there were no reports of any serious incidents on Monday.
“The first day of classes was terrific. The students and staff all came in with smiles and enthusiasm. The day was a big success, as we hope that all days will be. I want to thank the staff and parents for making the day go so smoothly.
“We are looking forward to working with the students to help them achieve to the greatest of their ability. It’s our hope that parents and guardians will support their students by communicating with them about how their day went and what they did in school and reinforcing the concepts that the students learned. One of the best things that parents and guardians can do is to have their students read every night. We are anticipating a very successful school year,” he said.
Rosemary Clarke Middle School Principal Tim Wombaker noted that aside from a few faculty and student scheduling changes at the school, virtually everything is pretty much the same as last year.
“There is one change in schedule; we will still have early release Wednesdays, but we will release at 1:25 p.m. every Wednesday. Last year, it was 1:35 p.m. We have the same administrative team and many returning teachers,” he said.
Max Buffi is returning for his fifth year as Pahrump Valley High School principal.
His message was directed to students as well as parents who help to provide their kids with the necessary tools to become the best they can be during their high school years.
“We are grateful to the families and community of Pahrump for their emphasis on the importance of education and support of student success. We are proud of our students for having high expectations for themselves, their education, and for their excitement and pride in our school. My assistants and I have been busy this summer planning the schedule to accommodate a projected 1,200 students on the first day of school. We are proud to offer programs, activities, and opportunities for students, which nurture their gifts and challenge them to grow,” he said.
Inside the classroom one PVHS freshman, Skyler Childs, gave his thoughts on the first day of class at a new school.
“It was actually pretty cool. Some of my friends said some of the teachers would be real rude but most of them were actually pretty cool. All of my teachers are cool though. I just realized I have to cut my hair for ROTC. I like this campus, it’s better than the middle school,” he said.