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Mon, Nov. 18

KUSD back in session today

JAMES CHILTON/Miner -- Manzanita Elementary School third-grade teacher Brock Odegard (standing, in apron) mingles with several of his incoming students and their parents at a class barbecue in Metcalfe Park Monday afternoon. The start-of-school barbecue has become a ritual for Odegard’s class, complete with hot dogs, lemonade and freshly-made s’mores. Manzanita, as well as the rest of the Kingman Unified School District, goes back to school today.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

JAMES CHILTON/Miner -- Manzanita Elementary School third-grade teacher Brock Odegard (standing, in apron) mingles with several of his incoming students and their parents at a class barbecue in Metcalfe Park Monday afternoon. The start-of-school barbecue has become a ritual for Odegard’s class, complete with hot dogs, lemonade and freshly-made s’mores. Manzanita, as well as the rest of the Kingman Unified School District, goes back to school today.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

KINGMAN - Be careful on your way to work today, and watch out for the big yellow buses. Today's the day that more than 7,000 students in the Kingman Unified School District head back to class.

According to KUSD Superintendent Roger Jacks, parents and students can expect few changes in the overall structure of school this year. Enrollment is roughly the same, as are bus routes and starting and ending times, with the sole exception of the district's middle schools. Both White Cliffs and Kingman Middle School will be starting 10 minutes later than they did last year, at 8 a.m.

Students can expect to see some physical upgrades at Kingman Middle School, as well as at Black Mountain and La Senita Elementary Schools. Those three schools were each renovated over the summer, fitted with new tile and wall paneling, as well as a new entrance for Black Mountain that draws traffic off of State Route 68, which has been the scene of tragic accidents in the past.

"Parents will turn at Verde; we built a new road that comes into the back of the school, and that was to take the buses and traffic off of 68," Jacks said.

"Between this year and last year, we've been through all the schools and done our upgrades, and our facilities look beautiful, probably the best they've looked in years, thanks to the (2006) school bond."

Jacks said the district's top brass, including several school board members, took time to tour each of the district's 10 schools prior to today's start of class, taking turns meeting with each school's principal and staff to discuss the agenda for this year.

"Our No. 1 agenda this year is student growth in every classroom, and that's going to be measured by periodic assessments," Jacks said. "We know we get students at all different academic levels, but what we need to do is provide students' growth, a year's worth of education and a year's worth of academic growth, and we'll be monitoring that with every child."

He added that the faculty this year is solid district-wide, save for one science position at Kingman Middle School. The district had reached a deal with a highly-qualified applicant, but the applicant apparently backed out just two weeks before the start of class.

As in years past, students are required to wear mandatory uniform shirts appropriate to each school. These shirts are available for sale at participating vendors throughout the community.

A full list of vendors, as well as bus schedules and start times, is available on the district's website, www.kusd.org.

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