The school bells are ringing as school is back in session today, Aug. 11 in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District. However, before the hustle and bustle of the first day a lot of preparation took place at Oakdale Junior High School and Oakdale High School to process paperwork for the students and to orient new students to the campus in what are known as “Round Up.”
The high school and junior high school round ups held this year on Aug. 4-6 consisted of students obtaining their class schedules, purchasing P.E. clothes and yearbooks, paying outstanding fines, sitting for photos for I.D. cards and yearbooks, and for certain grade levels there are hearing checks. Many school staff members and parents turned out to volunteer their time and help. (See photos, page A2 of this week’s issue.)
“Round Up has gone really smooth this year,” said OJHS Principal John Simons, adding that it was also a better turnout with students and parents compared to last year.
He reported that they expect a similar enrollment as last year, approximately 800 students.
Simons also reported that they made some additions to the roundup this year by having more representation from the parent club, Oasis – the after school program, and the magazine representative for school fundraising.
There were also two big changes for the junior high round up involving textbooks and photos. The students were able to pick up their textbooks at the school library instead of waiting until the first day of school to receive them from their teachers. Simons said that school librarian Barbara Denys spent all summer inventorying textbooks. He added that this enables the school to keep better track of the books and have more consistent accountability because they will all be processed through one central spot. As examples, he said they’ll know how many usable books there will be and if some need to be ordered, the books will also stay in better condition. Simons added that with the new classroom construction, it has allowed the junior high the space to have a storage room for the books.
The other big change was that there were extra photographers and booths to get the students through the photo area more quickly and the photographer brought the technology that enabled them to print out student I.D. cards on site and have them ready for the students in minutes. This technology has been used at the high school, but it was a first for the junior high.
School district nurse Diane Stevenson was on hand at the junior high round up to usher eighth graders to the county Office of Education’s hearing mobile for their hearing tests. The mandated hearing screenings are for Kindergarten through second graders, as well as fifth, eighth, and tenth graders. The purpose of the screenings, Stevenson said, is to make sure that the students hear at standard speech levels. She said that testing the eighth graders during round up is the easiest proposition because they’re all gathered together at one time and then she doesn’t have to pull students out of class and have them miss academic time for screening.
OHS Principal Mike Moore also reported that the round up went smoothly and that they are looking forward to the year. He reported that there are approximately 1,660 total students enrolled, with 479 of those being freshmen. The numbers are similar to last year.
Freshman orientation had students divided up into small groups and shown around campus by upper classmen. They visited classrooms, played costume games, and took a break from their full day at one point where they gathered in the Quad area near the slab to visit, listen to music over the speakers, eat a hot dog lunch, and dance before they had to get in line for photos, class schedules, books, and other necessities.