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New school year brings new curriculum and projects

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Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2012 7:09 pm | Updated: 10:09 am, Wed Aug 1, 2012.

Parents have stocked up on lunchbox essentials. Kids are geared up with new backpacks and shoes. Teachers have spent the last few days setting up their classrooms and jotting down lesson plans. The new school year is upon us.

Some changes have begun with the 2012-13 school year, from curriculum to school maintenance projects.

Elementary school teachers in the Lodi Unified School District have moved to a new reading and language arts program. Students will learn from California Treasure instead of Houghton Mifflin. The new program replaces Houghton Mifflin and costs over $2 million paid out over three years.

Teachers have been busy in professional development workshops learning the comments of the program and organizing the materials.

“Our professional educators believe this program will better meet the needs of all our students in grades K-6,” said Catherine Pennington, assistant superintendent of elementary education, in an email.

Transitional kindergarten programs are open at Lawrence and Podesta Ranch Elementary Schools. Children who do not meet the age cut off for standard kindergarten now have an option for an extra year of school to better prepare for the classroom.

Pennington reminds students and parents to have the right mindset for the year.

“We always ask students to come to school ready to learn, to be on time each day, and prepared with their materials. Parents play a vital role in the achievement of these goals,” said Pennington.

At the high school level, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Dawn Vetica said schools will continue to focus on becoming professional learning communities and providing excellent customer service to students and families.

Keep your eye out for school renovations when you drop off the kids at school.

Art Hand, assistant superintendent of facilities and planning, said his team has worked on major painting projects at several schools including the Tokay High gym and the exteriors at Millswood, Larson and McAullife Schools.

Work has begun on the renovation of the Lodi High School soccer field. More projects include seal coating and re-striping of the asphalt play areas at Nichols, Davis and Parklane Schools; the start of the kitchen renovations at Heritage and Davis Schools; the replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at the Heritage School multipurpose room and in several classrooms at Vinewood School.

Not all the news is good.

Maintenance workers noticed earlier this week that the well water at Live Oak School has exceeded the threshold levels for nitrate concentrations allowed by regulation. That site will have bottled water shipped in for drinking and food preparation until the problem can be solved.

Hand expects to bring options to the board of trustees as soon as their Aug. 7 meeting.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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