Thousands of students return to school

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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- Thousands of students started school Monday, some of them at brand new schools where the learning curve can be a little steeper.

Almost 20 new schools opening across the state this year. So, on top of the normal back to school jitters, some students also must figure out how to get around the building.

**New Utah public schools**
North Point Elementary Alpine
Sage Hills Elementary Alpine
Westlake High Alpine
Foxboro Elementary Davis
Legacy Jr. High Davis
Diamond Ridge Elementary Granite
Kari Sue Hamilton Jordan
Silver Crest Elementary Jordan
Maple Mountain High Nebo
Stansbury High Tooele
Southwest High Washington
Shadow Valley Elementary Ogden

Debbie Koji is the principal of Diamond Ridge Elementary, a new school near 6050 West and 6200 South in the Granite School District.

"In any first day you have little kids who can't remember who their teachers are. You have kids who can't remember where their teachers or classrooms are," she said.

At her school, a big chunk of the day was dedicated to helping kids feel comfortable in the new building.

Fifth grader Brisa Rodriguez said, "(We learned) the rules and our numbers for lunch, and we took a tour around the school to see what it is like."

Another fifth grader, Christopher Love, said, "We are learning about the new rules and doing some assignments."

The new building, the grass that can't be walked on quite yet, or the lunch number system that's not working aren't the only things on Principal Koji's mind.

**New Utah Charter schools**
Oquirrh Mountain Charter School Farmington
Vista at Entrada Washington County
Early Light Academy at Daybreak South Jordan
APA- the School for the New Americans West Valley City
Excelsior Academy Tooele
Hawthorn Academy West Jordan
Open High School of Utah Statewide

She's thinking a lot about preventing an H1N1 outbreak, and how she's going to get her teachers on the same page with no money for professional development courses. "That money has just been wiped out," she said.

But, at the end of the day, she says, "To see the kids again, it makes it all worth it. It's so wonderful."

Easing the transition

Getting a new school year off to a good start is important for any kid, whether they're at a brand new school or an older one. We talked to some parents as they waited to pick up their kids from school about what they do to ease the transition.

Michelle Moscen said, "We just ask them how it went, how the day went, how the teachers were. We don't have any special things we do, just ask them how it went."

Another parent, Alisa Ward, said, "I usually just take the whole day off work and spend the rest of the afternoon with them."

David Chalman said, "We have a routine. I mean, you've got to. He's a really good student."

The National Association of School Psychologists has some recommendations for what parents should do. For a detailed list of suggestions, CLICK HERE.


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Courtney Orton


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