With the beginning of school just days away, teachers and administrators in the Nye County School District (NCSD) are preparing for the return of more than 5,000 K-12 students next week.
The district is also welcoming the addition of at least 40 new teachers into the classrooms.
In order for children to get registered and enrolled this year, parents must provide written proof that their child has been vaccinated or is in the process of being vaccinated before the child may be enrolled.
The written documentation must have the signature of a health care provider.
Among the required immunizations are DPT, poliomyelitis, MMR, hepatitis A and B, varicella and Tdap.
Superintendent Dale Norton said parents can get the latest information about the upcoming semester by visiting the district office or the school their child will be attending.
“If they have questions they need to get out to the school or stop by the district. We may not have the specific site answer but we can get them connected to the site. If they are new to the district and don’t know where their school zones are, they are certainly welcome to come here to the front desk and we can guide them in the right direction,” he said.
Norton also said if students are involved in extracurricular activities for the fall semester, parents should get the information directly from the school their student is attending.
“In regards to athletics or other activities at the middle or high school level, they need to get in touch with the schools, which are now open for that kind of business, especially if there are activities prior to the start of school. We don’t have all of that kind of information here at the district office,” he said.
Norton said parents who have not yet registered their kids for school this year need to do so as soon as possible this week.
He also noted that parents and students are strongly encouraged to attend the open house events this week.
“A robo-call will be going out to those who have already registered. It would be best for those who have not registered yet to get that done sometime this week. All of the elementary schools are doing their open houses prior to the first day of school. Parents should contact the school about when the open house will be held. I do believe the high school will be doing theirs later after school starts,” he said.
The district recently announced the implementation of full-day kindergarten classes and the Nevada Kick Start Program beginning this year.
Norton said the respective programs are designed to get young students better prepared as they advance through elementary, middle and high school.
“According to the current research, 70 percent of the achievement gap is created before the beginning of second grade and most likely between birth and kindergarten. With the passing of SB 182, funding was provided to every school district to fund all-day kindergarten in order to increase each child’s direct route to college and career readiness and eliminate the achievement gap. In conjunction with full-day kindergarten, the Nevada College Savings Board will be piloting the Nevada College Kick-Start Program. The program will provide an initial $50 deposit in a college savings account for all kindergarteners enrolled in the Nye County School District beginning this month,” he said.
Transportation is a very important issue to many parents in Nye County, among the largest school districts by area in the whole country.
With more than 100 buses in the fleet, the school district’s transportation department travels roughly 1.3 million miles each year.
On Saturday, transportation officials set up shop outside of Walmart giving local parents information on school bus registration for the approaching school year.
Supervisor Patty Dannenberger said many parents inquired about how often they need to register their kids for transportation services.
“You have to reregister every year. Although kids may have ridden for the last five years, they still have to register for the bus every year. We are encouraging parents to get that done as soon as possible because this coming up week is the last week to register and school starts on the 26th. They need to get set up now so they won’t be panicking at the last minute to get their kids enrolled and registered for the bus. We don’t want kids running to a bus at the last minute. It’s not a safe thing to do,” she said.
The supervisor also said there have been no major alterations in terms of routes for the new school year.
“The routes have not changed so it should go pretty smooth this year. Kids and parents need to know where their bus stop is, their bus number and the times because we want them there five minutes before the bus arrives so they are there and ready to get on the bus,” she said.
Dannenberger also said that certain challenges arise the first week of school especially when younger students are not fully aware of their bus stops and routes the drivers take.
On past occasions drivers sometimes end their route with a few stranded kids still on the bus.
“We usually end up taking them back to the transportation office. We will not drop a kindergartener off in the afternoon without a responsible adult there to pick them up. We keep them on the bus and our route dispatchers try to get a hold of mom and dad but in the meantime, they stay on the bus and if worse comes to worse, we take them back to transportation and wait for an adult to pick them up. When they do pick them up from transportation, they do have to have proper identification because we don’t just hand them to whomever,” she said.
At present, the transportation department has signed up roughly 1,600 students but they are still expecting more as the first day of school approaches.
“Right now, we are a little bit low so we are looking at that last-minute rush because this is the last week. We will be making a lot of phone calls this week and taking applications. We are asking parents to get that done this week before the first day of school because we are ready to go,” Dannenberger said.
Norton, meanwhile, said a few construction projects are also wrapping up around the district as the new semester approaches.
Students at one northern Nye County school will be greeted with a new look this year.
“Here in the Pahrump area, we have just the normal operations of getting the schools back up and going for this year. We have some warranty things that we are doing on some of our construction projects with Pahrump Valley High School. We are completing the construction of the bleachers that were installed at Tonopah Elementary and Middle School. I have seen it and it’s beautiful. I appreciate the community’s support with the community committee that met with the district who helped plan and facilitate a lot of things. The community should be proud of the outcome with that,” he said.
District officials are also reminding parents about the early release time every Wednesday afternoon.
Students will be dismissed to the bus at 1:25 p.m. every Wednesday.
The time will be used for professional development of faculty and administrators.
Early Wednesday dismissal has been implemented districtwide.