Kindergartners ease into class

SATURDAY, AUG. 28, 2010

The first day of kindergarten can be a stressful time for both parents and students. Kids go from spending all day with their parents or in a child care facility and must transition to new classrooms, new teachers and new responsibilities.

To help make the change easier, staff at Trent Elementary in the East Valley School District held a kindergarten orientation Tuesday that was fun, too.

At the Kindergarten Roundup, Principal Kyle Rydell, dressed like a cowboy, greeted students at the door while Gene Autry was piped in through the sound system. The kindergartners were told who their new teachers are going to be and had a chance to meet them.

Teachers assessed the new students in the gymnasium to find out where they are academically. There were building tours and snacks. Students met the school bus driver and got their picture taken with Wizzard, a 7-year-old miniature horse.

“He loves little kids more than he likes adults,” said Carli Schelling, the owner of the horse.

Counselor Larry Snider said the teachers received a copy of the pictures so they can put a face to the name. He said that there is a grieving process for both the students and the parents when kindergarten starts, especially at Trent where they have all-day kindergarten classes. A visit to the school helps make it less scary for the students.

“It helps kids feel confident,” Snider said.

Barbara Jewell brought her daughter Rhiannon Crook to the orientation. Jewell said her daughter was looking forward to the first day, since Crook had never been in a day care center. She has spent most of her life with either her mother or her older sister.

“She’s so wanting to make friends.” Jewell said.

Crook agreed. She said she was most looking forward to playing at school.

Brandon Chen said he was most looking forward to playing basketball. His mother Sharon Chen brought him to the school with his older sister, Nicole Chen, who will start the third grade this year.

It’s the kids’ first year in the district, since the family recently moved from California.

“I think it’s good for the kids to see the school and get to know the staff,” Sharon Chen said.

The first day of school is Wednesday.

Budget approvals

Three school districts in Spokane Valley approved their budgets for the 2010-’11 school year.

• At the Central Valley School Board meeting Monday, Superintendent Ben Small said the district has held several meetings and workshops to get to this point in the budget process – seeking board approval. New this year to the district are participation fees for athletics.

High school students participating in athletics can expect to pay $60 per sport in the coming school year. Students who receive reduced-priced lunch will pay $30 per sport. Students will pay to participate in the first two sports they play, but third is free.

Students who receive free lunches won’t have to pay the fee.

The final total of the CV budget including its general fund, ASB fund and debt service is $125,857,869. The board unanimously passed the budget.

• In the East Valley School Board meeting Tuesday, members unanimously approved a budget that includes its general fund, transportation vehicle fund and debt services fund of $45,144,212.

Finance director Brian Wallace told the board that staffing is the biggest expenditure for the district in its general fund.

“Eighty-five percent of our resources are spent on salaries and benefits,” Wallace said.

He told the board the budget is based on expected enrollment rates for the coming school year.

“It’s a very conservative budget,” Wallace said.

• The West Valley School Board unanimously approved the budget during its meeting Wednesday. The general fund, the transportation vehicle fund, the capital projects fund, the debt services fund and the ASB fund come to a total of $41,959,362.

The district had the option of increasing its levy to the taxpayers, but decided to keep it the same as it has been.

“We felt we wanted to tighten our belts the same as our families are,” said board member Pam McLeod.


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