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Bells Ring In New Year
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A kindergarten student prepares to take a big step up on the school bus to ride home after his first day at Cloverland Elementary School on Aug. 10. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

School started in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District Aug. 10 and “Back to School Nights” are already under way this week.

“We hope parents and the community will come out to see what our teachers have in store for students this year,” said district Superintendent Marc Malone.

Oakdale High School held its BTS night Aug. 16 and Oakdale Junior High School’s will be Aug. 18. Back to School Night for the elementary schools will be on Aug. 23.

Malone reported that the district had a great opening of school, noting that the school sites were deep cleaned over the summer and staff was in place to greet students on the first day.

“Currently, our enrollment is 35 students over where we were this time last year. That is a good thing,” Malone said. “Our junior high and OHS numbers look particularly strong. However, true numbers will not shake out until after Labor Day. We do have enrollment bubbles in kindergarten and third grade.”

He noted that the district is staffed correctly but it will require some students to be overflowed to sites with space available in those grades.

Cloverland Elementary School serves as an overflow school and received some additional students the first week. Cloverland school secretary Robin Stocker said that the first day of school was very busy. She said she made a lot of phone calls finding out if absent students who were registered were still living in the Cloverland boundaries and making sure families knew that Aug. 10 was the first day of school.

Cloverland has a new principal this year, Larry Bonds, who is new to Oakdale and is staying busy in getting to know students, families, and staff. He said the first day of school went well at Cloverland for the opening of the school year.

“Students were happy to be back at school and all said they had a great summer break,” Bonds reported. “We had two new teachers join us this year at Cloverland. Neil Jackson joined the OJUSD this year and Susan Weaver comes to us from Sierra View School – both teachers will be teaching sixth grade. Connie Preciado joined the Cloverland staff as our new lead custodian this summer. In addition, Sherri House and Maria Miranda both joined the Cloverland family. Both ladies will be working as part of our yard duty staff.”

Stacey Aprile, who was the former principal of Cloverland is now in the top administrative role at Fair Oaks Elementary School.

Sierra View Elementary School had an “amazing” start to the new school year, reported Principal David Kindred, who previously served as principal at Fair Oaks.

“As the new principal of Sierra View I have been meeting all of the students and families over the past week,” said Kindred. “Vice Principal (Kathy) Pinol and I have been visiting classrooms, spending time on the playground, and monitoring arrival and dismissal of students at school. The staff (members) of Sierra View have done an excellent job of getting the classrooms and learning environments ready for student success.”

He added that the students are happy, eager, and are looking forward to what the new school year has in store for them.

Magnolia Elementary School Principal Julie Minabe said that things are also going very well at her school.

“Our registrar has been kept busy registering new students and dropping those who moved over the summer,” she said. “We have several new staff members who have settled in and already seem like veteran Magnolia Bears. Students are happy and learning, and I am very happy to have them back.”

Minabe has also hit a milestone of sorts at Magnolia.

“The other day I reminded the sixth graders that they were kindergartners my first year as principal at Magnolia, so they’re a pretty special group to me,” she said. “It’s going to be a great year.”

Minabe added that the district’s maintenance team worked hard over the summer to get the classroom buildings and school grounds ready for the students’ return and commented about newly-planted trees on the rear playground and new bark under the play equipment at her school.

OHS Principal Mike Moore also reported a good start to the new school year.

“Nothing out of the ordinary but staff and students seem genuinely excited to be here,” he said.