It's a new school year, and a brand-new day for some.
A new student ID policy at Davis and Johansen high schools means Spartans and Vikings must wear lanyards that display their student identification cards while on campus.
Gregori and Beyer students can help them adjust to the "outfit- ruining aspect," as one wearer put it. Those schools had them already, with Gregori requiring IDs since it opened in 2010.
Gregori Principal Jeff Albritton said the visible IDs create a safer environment.
"Anyone who walks onto the campus and does not have a lanyard gets campus supervisors' immediate attention," he said. Students caught without one will get a loaner for the day, but repeat offenders risk a $3 replacement fee.
The IDs are needed, said Sarah Gill, associate principal at Beyer. At least weekly, nonstudents who might pass for teens turn up on campus without lanyards visible, she said.
Modesto High students are "strongly encouraged" to wear them, but not required to do so, said Associate Superintendent Ginger Johnson. Downey and Elliott have not adopted the lanyards.
On the upside, the lanyards make checking out library books a fast swipe, Johnson said. Administrators say the IDs help foster a sense of community. School staff members also wear them.
Maggie White, a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom program, said she wears a lanyard at Valley Charter High. "I was quite annoyed by that part of the dress code for a while, but eventually I stopped even noticing that I had it on," she said.
Alicia Rorabaugh, a senior at Johansen High and also a member of Teens in the Newsroom, said in an e-mail, "Everyone is in an uproar at Johansen. The students are all upset about the idea of wearing the ID on a lanyard.
We don't really understand the purpose of the lanyards. Some staff have hinted at the ability to distinguish between students and visitors on campus; however, visitors are supposed to sign in at the front office.
From my friends at other schools, they say that the policy starts off strict and then fades quickly, with staff not caring if the lanyards are worn."
Other changes parents will notice:
GREGORI HIGH: Modesto's newest high school will start Tuesday with a full complement of classes, including its first seniors, who will go through their year in the afternoon shadow of a stadium timed to be finished for their graduation.
WATERFORD: Waterford Middle School will start with only seventh- and eighth-graders Wednesday. Sixth-graders will attend Whitehead Intermediate instead, a move that school district leaders say will help the younger students concentrate and allow a greater range of specialized junior high offerings.
"We've recognized that for some students, moving from a self-contained classroom setting to a departmentalized school where students change classes was more difficult," said Waterford Unified Superintendent Don Davis by e-mail. Teacher credentials, which split elementary from single-subject secondary, also worked against the mix.
Davis said that the popular sixth-grade music program remains, and that parent response has been positive.
CERES: Chavez Junior High will add eighth-graders when it starts Aug. 15. Chavez opened last year with its gym under construction. Refurbishing and new construction at Walter White Elementary is done, with a new playground installed and its portable classrooms gone, said Ceres Unified Assistant Superintendent Jay Simmonds.
MODESTO: New principals will greet students at several Modesto City elementary campuses: Trish Anderson at Beard, Susan Fisher at Fremont,
Theresa Finley at Garrison, Scott Genzmer at Marshall, Jennifer Harman at Muir and Christina Dimas at Robertson Road. Deborah Rowe will lead Enochs High.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339.
Start dates for area school districts:
TODAY: Aspire public charter schools, Big Valley Christian School
TUESDAY: Modesto City Schools, Empire Union, Ripon Unified
WEDNESDAY: Sylvan Union, Riverbank Unified, Salida Union, Valley Home Joint, Waterford Unified, John F. Kennedy School
THURSDAY: Modesto Christian School
AUG. 13: Gratton, Newman-Crows Landing, Valley Charter High, Patterson Joint Unified
AUG. 14: Chatom Union, Denair Unified, Hickman Charter, Hughson Unified, Oakdale Joint Unified, Stanislaus Union
AUG. 15: Central Catholic High, Ceres Unified, Great Valley Academy, Our Lady of Fatima School, Roberts Ferry Union, Sacred Heart Elementary in Patterson, St. Stanislaus Catholic School, Stanislaus County alternative education
AUG. 16: Keyes Union, Knights Ferry, Paradise, Sacred Heart Elementary in Turlock
AUG. 20: Turlock Unified, Hart-Ransom Union, Escalon Unified, Turlock Christian School
AUG. 22: California State University, Stanislaus
AUG. 27: Modesto Junior College, Columbia College, Shiloh School District
Here's a top-10 list of parent tips for a good school year.
1. GOOD TIMES. Make learning fun by reading together, visiting museums, playing board games and making regular library visits. Physical activity keeps the brain active, improves fitness, fights obesity and relieves stress.
2. GOOD CONNECTIONS. Help out with school events when you can. Plan questions ahead for the annual teacher conference. Go to open house and back-to-school nights.
3. GOOD ROUTINES. Schedule regular times for meals, homework and reading, recreation and bedtime. Watch that after-school or extracurricular activities don't pile up. Big games and big tests in the same week equal major stress. Set up a homework spot with a basket of supplies. Be available to help younger kids think through homework questions and offer teens a sounding board.
4. GOOD LIMITS. Television, electronic games, texting and social media can crowd out homework time, as well as family communication.
5. GOOD EATS. Good nutrition helps learning, and at home or school, kids need breakfast. Limit the caffeine, sugar and junk food.
6. GOOD NIGHTS. Going to school tired means a day of irritability, low energy and shorter attention span, all of which impede learning. Bedtime stories (a chapter a night) can speed up the process. Have kids do a math word problem while snuggling in.
9. GOOD CALLS. Attendance, starting in kindergarten, is directly tied to academic success and graduation rates. Sick kids should stay home, but high anxiety symptoms might call for an e-mail to the teacher, not another day on the couch.
10: GOOD LISTENING: Talk with kids about their school day while taking a walk or fixing dinner; ask for one cool thing they learned today or whom they ate lunch with. Letting teens pick the car music can be very revealing. Having kids explain the homework or read aloud takes patience, but they learn more.