Clark County students are filling their new backpacks with pink erasers, yellow No. 2 pencils and mounds of other required school supplies. Next Monday is Labor Day. There's no denying it: It's back-to-school time.
Over the next nine days, students in all 10 Clark County school districts start classes.
Tuesday students in Ridgefield School District are the first in the county to begin the 2013-14 school year.
Wednesday students in Green Mountain and La Center — and in Stevenson-Carson in Skamania County — return to school.
Tuesday, Sept. 3, students in Camas and Washougal start the school year.
Wednesday, Sept. 4, the remaining Clark County districts — Battle Ground, Evergreen, Hockinson, Vancouver and Woodland — convene.
Drivers should take care to heed lower speed limits in school zones and to stop at crosswalks and when school buses extend their red "stop" signs.
Here are a few of the changes returning students and staffers can expect.
• The district installed modular classroom buildings, with 10 classrooms in each, at the Daybreak, Pleasant Valley and Tukes Valley campuses to alleviate overcrowding and to provide for future growth.
• Staffing changes: Mike Maloney, former assistant principal at Glenwood Heights Primary, is principal at Amboy Middle School. At Captain Strong Primary, Mike Michaud moved from assistant principal to principal. Nick Krause moved from assistant principal to principal at Laurin Middle School. At Maple Grove School, Michelle Reinhardt, former co-assistant principal, is now principal. The new principal at Pleasant Valley Middle School is Travis Drake, former assistant principal/athletic director at Prairie High School.
• Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School, the first such high school in the state, opens near PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Crestline Elementary School students and staff, displaced by a Feb. 3 fire, will be reunited under one roof in a temporary school at the Hewlett-Packard/SEH America building, 18110 S.E. 34th St. Meanwhile, the district broke ground last week on the next Crestline Elementary at its original site. The new school will welcome students in September 2014.
• All elementary schools in Vancouver Public Schools will offer full-day kindergarten with no fee.
• Vancouver iTech Preparatory, a magnet school with a focus on STEM, will expand to include grades 6 through 10; middle school students are housed at the Jim Parsley Education, Family and Community Center while high school students attend classes at the Clark College Building on the Washington State University Vancouver campus.
• Lewis and Clark High School, the district's alternative school, is changing its format to a blended learning instructional model, combining online instruction, group discussions and support from teachers.
• AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) expands to Marshall and King elementary schools, and both middle and high school levels of Vancouver iTech Preparatory.
• All students at Alki and McLoughlin middle schools, Fir Grove, Vancouver iTech Preparatory and Lewis and Clark High School will have one-to-one digital learning tools. New Spanish instructional materials will be implemented through all secondary schools. New science iBooks will be available for middle school science classes. New English/language arts instructional materials for grades 9-11 will be implemented.
• Staffing changes: Valerie Seeley is now principal at Hudson's Bay High School. She was previously associate principal. Bill Oman, former principal at Hudson's Bay, is now director of classified personnel for the district. Mark Cain, former associate principal at Jason Lee Middle School, is principal at Discovery Middle School. Patrick Conners, former associate principal at Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School, is principal of Washington Elementary School.
• Washougal School District is offering free all-day kindergarten to students at Hathaway Elementary starting this fall, thanks to state funding to support kindergarten programs at schools with higher percentages of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Gause Elementary will continue their part-time kindergarten schedule. A new gym floor and new athletic field turf were installed over the summer at Washougal High School.
• In the Stevenson-Carson School District in Skamania County, Sarah Marino of Juneau, Alaska, is the new principal for Wind River Middle School/Stevenson High School. Marino, an alumna of Stevenson High School, succeeds Kim Meche, who died in April. The district's new superintendent is Dan Read.