Thousands of children in Spokane County will get to bed early tonight because, as their parents will remind them, “It’s a school night.”
School opens for more than 42,000 students in Spokane, Cheney, Orchard Prairie and Mead districts Tuesday.
Another 21,000 students return to school Wednesday in Medical Lake, Nine Mile Falls, Great Northern and the three Spokane Valley districts.
Spokane School District expects 31,000 students on the first day. That number will climb by about 500 by next week and jump by another 500 before the official count day on Oct. 1, predicted Assistant Superintendent Ned Hammond.
Newly remodeled and enlarged libraries will greet students at Adams, Lincoln Heights, Lidgerwood, Westview and Ridgeview elementary schools and at Rogers High School.
The district is in the midst of a project to make playgrounds safer.
So far, 13 schools have new surfaces under play equipment that now meet Consumer Product Safety Commission recommendations. Other schools’ playgrounds will be completed by next year.
The Tessera (gifted) program and special education program formerly at Bryant School will move to the old Libby Middle School.
Responding to community concerns about youth violence, the district hired security officers for its high schools.
A $215,000 state security grant the district applied for was denied, so the district will pay for the program out of its regular budget.
Hired were Walt Pegram for North Central High, Dan Johnson for Lewis and Clark High, Gary Cooper for Shadle Park High, Paul Corrick for Rogers High and Sandra Dennis for Ferris High.
The security officers have backgrounds in law enforcement and counseling. Like other school employees, they will be fingerprinted and undergo criminal background checks. The Spokane police and Spokane County sheriff’s departments will train them in law, investigation and communication.
Other districts and their start dates are:
Cheney School District opens Tuesday, expecting 3,450 students.
Mead School District opens Tuesday with 7,659 students.
Orchard Prairie School District opens Tuesday with 64 students.
Central Valley School District opens Wednesday, expecting more than 10,000 students.
Jesus Villahermosa, a deputy sheriff in Pierce County, will talk to staff members about safe schools Tuesday. Villahermosa also will hold a workshop for business people from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Central Valley High School.
Medical Lake School District opens Wednesday expecting 2,370 students.
The district’s new elementary school, named Stanley Hallett Elementary to honor a Medical Lake pioneer, opens for the first time. Principal Ralph Headlee will oversee 314 students in grades four through six. The new building eases crowding in Medical Lake Elementary, which will have 351 students in grades kindergarten through third.
East Valley School District opens Wednesday with 4,424 students.
Great Northern School opens Wednesday with 30 students.
Nine Mile Falls School District opens Wednesday with 1,405 students.
West Valley School District opens Wednesday with 3,473 students.
Deer Park, Freeman, Liberty and Riverside districts opened last week.