School year begins: More than 1,500 report for first day in South Whidbey schools

South Whidbey School District students load onto the bus on Camano Avenue for the first day of school Sept. 3.  - Celeste Erickson / The Record
South Whidbey School District students load onto the bus on Camano Avenue for the first day of school Sept. 3.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

A ringing bell will once again be a familiar sound for South Whidbey School District students.

The first day of school began Tuesday, Sept. 3, for more than 1,500 children and teenagers enrolled in the district’s four schools.

Waiting patiently for their bus, Freeland brothers Rakeem and Maalik Heino, both 11, said they weren’t too thrilled about the start of the school year.

“We’re not that excited,” Rakeem said.

He and his brother began fifth grade this year at South Whidbey Elementary School.

Langley resident Jacob Deritis, 9, was waiting at the same stop and unlike his school mates, he said he was kind of excited for school to start because staying home got a bit boring.

He said he likes his fourth-grade teacher at the elementary school, Bruce Callahan.

Amrian Ting saw two of her children off on their first day at a new school. Ting moved to South Whidbey from Seattle earlier this year. 

She said her sons Joseph, 7, and Mateo, 6, woke up early Tuesday morning for the first day of school. Joseph will join the second grade and Mateo the first grade. She said they were excited to make new friends.

The school board kicked off the year by reaffirming their student learning goals during their monthly meeting, Aug. 28. The goals include having 100 percent of graduates career and college ready by 2020 and implementing an evaluation system for all staff members to focus on promoting career and college readiness in students by 2014.

Six new teachers and staff members joined the district this year with 14 teachers and staff members rearranging positions.

Also, phone systems throughout the district were updated over the summer. The new system includes voicemails that are automatically sent to the staffs’ email. The system also includes an updated wireless connection.

Superintendent Jo Moccia said buildings across campus are opening to a new school year in better shape than they have been in the past two years. She said neglected things were painted or upgraded.

“I’m pleased we’re opening in the condition we are opening in,” Moccia said.


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