Yukon students head back to class

Students at Surrey Hills Elementary School walk down the hallway at the beginning of the school day. Thursday was the first day of class in Yukon. For more photos, see Pages 6A and 7A. Photo / Terry Groover

By TERRY GROOVER
tgroover@theyukonreview.com

They’re back.
About 8,700 students returned to the classroom Thursday in Yukon.
Officials said there were very few problems, though a couple of bus routes were running a little behind schedule.
This year’s students were greeted by about 100 new teachers across the district.
At least one school, Skyview, had no turnover in its teaching staff from last year.
Teachers returned to work Monday in preparation for the new school year. They were welcomed Monday with a breakfast at the high school gymnasium.
Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth greeted them during the annual event.
“School is an exciting time of year,” Simeroth said.
The number of new teachers this year is down significantly from previous years. Normally, that number runs about 125, he said.
“We’ve retained a lot. There are a couple of schools, one in particular, that had 100 percent retention. When we talk about retention, it is all about culture, it’s about being respectful and helpful and providing resources for our staff. We are pretty proud of that,” he said.
One area that Simeroth focused on when talking about the coming school year was how important it is to treat each child with respect.
“We want to make sure we focus on equity. We focus on some cultural diversity. Every child deserves the best that we can give. Public schools take every single kid. It doesn’t matter. If you walk through our doors, we are going to educate you, we’re going to love you. This year, we need to put an emphasis on that,” he told the teachers.
That is something that Simeroth said that Yukon educators already are good about doing.
While classes began on Thursday, Simeroth said he will not have a count of the current enrollment until Oct. 1 when it becomes official.
However, earlier he said the district expects the enrollment numbers to be up about 300 over last year, which would put it around 8,700 students.
Larrissa Lockwood, a spokesperson for the district, said Thursday’s opening day went off “without a hitch.”
She said Simeroth visited each school to welcome students back, as has been his tradition since he joined the district.
“The kids were excited. It was surprisingly calm. We’re off to a good start,” she said.

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