Some things that are new and some things that never get old — like being welcomed to campus with bands, giant inflatables, applause and high fives — kicked off the year for Modesto City Schools students Monday.
At Burbank Elementary on Paradise Road, that new-cafeteria smell welcomed kids. The school, which opened 70-plus years ago, now has a facility that can accommodate all 700 students at once, Principal Jim Mendonca said. No more having to stagger breakfast and lunch service.
The $10.5 million project, which replaced portable buildings, also has a kitchen that’s made food service much more efficient, he said. And making things even sweeter for the schoolchildren, Mendonca said, is that each and every student can get free breakfast and lunch.
In fact, now within MCS, students at 31 of the district’s 34 schools are offered breakfast and lunch at no charge through the Community Eligibility Provision. All elementary and junior high schools, plus Davis, Downey, Elliott, Johansen and Modesto high schools, are included in the program, the district reported.
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The traditional free and reduced price meal program is still available to students at Beyer, Enochs and Gregori high schools.
Several schools, including Beyer and Davis high schools and Enslen and Shackelford elementary schools, rolled out red carpets for the kids to walk.
At Shackelford, on School Avenue off Crows Landing Road, new Principal Sue McHann started the line of faculty and staff who welcomed 600 or so children with hugs and high fives.
Kids were in for other treats during the day, said McHann, who is new to Shackelford after five years at Wilson Elementary. Thanks to a gift of $4,000 from a donor who asked to remain anonymous, each student was to be sized Monday to receive a free Shackelford T-shirt, she said. And Shelter Cove Community Church donated more than 300 backpacks, which were in her office for distribution during recess to students in need.
At the high schools, student musicians, leaders, athletes, cheerleaders, mascots and others (the Beyer robotics team rolled out its creations) welcomed new and returning teens. “We want our students to know we are excited to have them here at Beyer,” Principal Dan Park said. “I can’t think of a better way to start the year.”