Back to school

School starts on Sept. 3 for some students, Sept. 4 for others.

The St. Helens School District is preparing for the 2019/2020 school year and has released some important information for students and parents to be aware of. Information includes registration and first-day dates and start times, areas each school will focus on, as well as other need-to-know tidbits of information.

The High School

The first day of school for St. Helens High School differs by grade. Ninth grade students will be Tuesday, Sept. 3, and they will begin the day with an assembly in the gym at 8:20 a.m. All other students will start on Wednesday, Sept. 4, beginning with an assembly at the gym at 8:20 a.m.

Staff officials state students should start school with a writing utensil, a 3-ring binder and a college-ruled notebook. Students will receive more information from their teachers about what additional supplies they will need.

Students should also be wary of the improvements happening on Gable Road. Expect only the westbound lane on Gable Road to be open. Parents should drop off students at the Firlock Park Boulevard access road.

According to school principal, Katy Wagner, the school will focus on three themes this year to be the focus of their professional work.

One goal is to work to build a mission statement. “It is time to get stakeholders involved in refining and committing to that vision,” Wagner said.

Another theme is to build a formal system where teachers collaborate to work together on practice.

Their third theme is to increase student connection to the high school.

“Purposefully ensuring that each student has an adult connection in the building and working to help students believe they can succeed in high school and beyond could positively help shift school culture,” Wagner said.

Part of achieving these goals, according to Wagner, are the new 9th grade academies: Cascade Olympic and Siskiyou.

“These academies allow a small group of teachers to work together collaboratively with the same group of students to create a community within the school,” Wagner said.

Wagner said this last goal is particularly embodied in the school’s overarching theme: “Be here. Be you. Belong.”

“We will be using the Oregon Department of Education Equity Lense in all our decision-making and practices,” Wagner said.

The Middle School

Students at St. Helens Middle School (SHMS) will have a brand-new campus to walk into on their first day.

“Our administration has been meeting weekly with the project managers to monitor the progress of the building and ensure it will be a safe and comfortable learning environment for our teachers and students on the first day of school,” SHMS Principal Cris Gwilliam said.

6th and 7th grade students will begin school on Tuesday, Sept. 3, which will be a full day. Students will not have to bring school supplies or PE clothes that day. Students will begin their day by reporting to the cafeteria at 8:30 a.m. They will receive their class schedules and locker assignments later in the day.

All students will attend school on Wednesday, Sept. 4, which is also a full school day and students will have to bring school supplies. 8th grade students will receive their schedules in the cafeteria that morning.

Officials want students to know that classrooms in the academic wing will be finished, while contractors will still be working the activities wing and gym floors.

School pictures will be taken on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Students will be able to order pictures the week before, when order forms will be sent home. All students will need to have their picture taken, whether or not they purchase photos in order to receive an ID card.

Students can purchase PE clothes for $15 or bring their own.

Students can also pay the Student Activity Fee for $20, which will offset the cost of different activities, field trips, assemblies, events and at the high school games.

The school yearbook for SHMS students will cost $19.

All fees can be paid online through the district TouchBase portal or in the front office.

Elementary Schools

All elementary schools will have their New Year Launch on August 28 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The New Year Launch will be an opportunity for parents to find out their child’s classroom assignments, drop off their student’s school supplies and meet their teacher. Each New Year Launch takes place at the student’s elementary school.

All schools will have information available throughout the year on their respective Facebook pages, with Lewis and Clark Elementary School giving information through their Parent Teacher Organization Facebook Page.

Lewis and Clark Elementary School will contact parents and guardians through email, texts, the school website, their electronic readerboard in front of the school, flyers and the school district app.

Columbia City Elementary School will contact parents through their weekly newsletter, their website and calendar, and their Remind App: https://www.remind.com/join/h4kf734.

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