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Sun, Feb. 23

Kingman school hallways about to fill up
Schools, students prepare for first bell of school year

The newly painted halls of Lee Williams High School will echo with the sounds of students when the school year begins Thursday.

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br> The newly painted halls of Lee Williams High School will echo with the sounds of students when the school year begins Thursday.

School's in forever!

Okay, that's not true.

But it's probably how your kids feel with the end of summer and the start of a new school year looming.

Kingman Unified schools and Cedar Hills School start Thursday. Kingman Academy of Learning schools start Monday.

In either case, the end of summer is near.

A host of changes awaits KUSD students.

Lee Williams High School will open its remodeled doors for the first time to a freshman class of about 250 students.

The Cambridge Academy, a rigorous curriculum designed to prepare students for careers and college, will kick off its inaugural year in the district with programs at White Cliffs Middle School, Kingman Middle School and Lee Williams High.

Many of the district's schools have new principals, including White Cliffs Middle School, Kingman High, Manzanita Elementary, La Senita Elementary, Cerbat Elementary and Mount Tipton School.

changes come from the district trying to find the best positions for its administrative staff, said KUSD Superintendent Roger Jacks. For instance, former Kingman High Principal Pat Mickelson is now the principal at La Senita Elementary.

Student-to-teacher ratios have increased, but not by as much as some members of the community fear.

"Class lists are causing concerns," Jacks said. "But we never know how many students we're going to have until the day school starts."

Someone looking two weeks ago at a class list for one of the elementary schools would've seen some classes with as many as 40 students. Jacks said no classroom will be left with 40 students.

Often, the actual class size is much smaller than the class lists compiled during the summer, Jacks said.

If it turns out that classes are fuller than expected, Jacks said the district will adjust them.

"We're not above hiring a new teacher at a school with a 40-student classroom," Jacks said.

The target student-to-teacher ratios are 30-to-one for the elementary schools, 32-to-one for the middle schools and 34-to-one at the high schools.

For more information about start times for specific schools, visit

Cedar Hills School, the lone school within the Hackberry School District, starts Thursday.

Principal Steve Hite, who is entering his first full year with the school, said enrollment is up to 32 students.

The school serves kindergarten through sixth grade with three teachers. It does this by combining classrooms, so the 12 students in kindergarten and first grade get one teacher, the nine in second and third grade get one teacher and the 11 students in fourth through sixth grade get one teacher.

Each day, students will take one of three extracurricular-type classes - physical education, music and computers/art. The three classrooms will rotate between these courses on a daily basis, Hite said.

School starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. every day.

Hackberry's governing board meets at 4:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month, and its agendas are posted on the district website,

"It's been crazy lately, but I'm really excited about the new school year," Hite said.

Kingman Academy of Learning students get a few extra days compared to their counterparts, but once school starts, it's time to get down to business.

"All administration staff is back and in their place," said KAOL District Administrator Susan Chan. "There are a few new teachers scattered throughout, though."

Though KAOL teachers keep an open line of communication with the parents of district students, the first of a few parent/teacher conferences happens Sept. 13, and there will be no school that day.

Other than continuing to establish common core standards - international standards designed to broaden students' scope of knowledge - and implementing new ways to teach math to high-school students, Chan said nothing has really changed since last year.

The district continues to focus on bringing parents, teachers and students together in order to help push students toward successful futures, Chan said.

Other than the middle school, which starts at 7:45 a.m., all KAOL schools begin promptly at 8 a.m.

"We're going to continue doing what we do best," Chan said. "And that's educating kids to the best of our ability."

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