(Geronimo) -- It's back to hitting the books today for Navarro ISD students. The Navarro ISD is among the districts heading back to class this Monday. The district is launching its school year one week earlier than most other districts across the state of Texas including the Seguin ISD.
Excited about opening the classroom doors for the 2017-2018 school year is Superintendent Dee Carter. Carter says as of today, the district is again welcoming a growing number of students to each of its campuses.
"We're just really excited. We had our new student registration a couple of weeks ago and we continue to have new students come to the doorstep and ready to enroll into our school district. We're expecting some fairly significant growth. We ended the school year with an enrollment of about 1,820 students. Once we subtract out the new pre-k children and kindergarten students, we've got close to 200 new students registered for this coming year. Now of course, we don't know at this point how many students who were here last year may have moved elsewhere so we don't know exactly how we will net out, but we certainly will have a lot of new students coming to us. We want to welcome them, but at the same time, our resources are going to be stretched without a doubt. We've added some staff members already. We're going to have some pretty big class sizes -- I'm afraid, particularly, perhaps at junior high. We will manage and our teachers are ready to greet all their new children," said Carter.
Carter says this school year is especially exciting with all the facilities that have come online and those who are just months away from completion.
"Our band hall expansion was completed, not right at the beginning of last school year, but that's been a great help. We've got the new eight classrooms at the elementary schools where we moved all the pre-k and kinder classes there and so that has allowed the elementary school to breath and have plenty of room for the children there. Of course, our intermediate school, the new building for the intermediate, will not be finished until next spring and so we will have one more year of getting by in the old building there," said Carter.
Carter says on the academic front, plenty of planning has occurred over the summer preparing students for even more success. She says one of the newest and exciting programs to be rolled out will focus on the freshman.
"We've got a wonderful new course that our freshman students are going to be taking. It's a college and career preparation class. Some of us are calling it Success 101. Our teachers attended a week long training session this summer in California in order to teach this course. The kids are going to be setting long term goals, looking at where they are in terms of their own skills and accomplishments right now and developing very concrete plans and the skills to meet their goals through their four years of high school and preparation for whatever comes next after that. So it's going to be a really exciting opportunity for our freshman students who develop a life plan," said Carter.
Of course construction and a growing district are also expected to contribute to an increase in school traffic in the Navarro ISD. Carter says this year especially will be a bit difficult and is asking parents and area commuters to exercise plenty of patience while traveling in and around the district during these next few days.
"Link Road and State Highway 123 are always very very busy, especially the first week of school when parents often bring their children to school before they let them ride the bus. So those first couple of days of school get really intense around here. It's going to be magnified this year because we had to tear up a lot of the edge of Link Road from the intermediate school all the way past the elementary school and then all the way along the front of the new intermediate school. It's going to be a little slower than it even normally is. We get a tremendous amount of congestion. So I really need to ask everyone, come early, be prepared to be patient, even to drop them off -- you're going to have a pretty long drop off line," said Carter.
The first day of the school in the Navarro ISD also means the day for the highly anticipated solar eclipse. Carter says while the district couldn’t ask for a better lesson, only third grade students at the elementary campus will be allowed to view the eclipse outside. There will also be no outdoor recess between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Lesson plans are also in store for the older students thanks to the purchase of glasses for students from American Paper Optics, which is on the approved list of the American Astronomical Society. District officials say teachers at each of the campuses will be going over safety procedures prior to taking students outside. They will also be reminding students to keep their eyes straight ahead or down while changing classes outside during the solar eclipse event.
Like the Navarro ISD, today also starts the first day of school for the Marion ISD.