Big welcome at Ready Springs |

Big welcome at Ready Springs

Trina Kleist and Soumitro Sen
Staff writers

Balloons and a banner welcomed students back to Ready Springs School in Penn Valley today, while coffee, muffins and the warm feeling of community welcomed their parents on the first day back to class.

Most of the area’s students are heading back to school today, ending a summer cut short by smoke-filled skies in June.

Schools that begin today include Chicago Park, Clear Creek, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Pleasant Valley, Union Hill and the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

Pleasant Ridge Union School District and Twin Ridges School District start a week later, on Aug. 19.

Nearly 230 students in grades kindergarten through 8th grade attend Ready Springs, where both a new principal and a new superintendent are making the first day of classes memorable, mom Jamie Horton-Yokom said this morning.

“The sixth, seventh and eighth-grade teachers took money from their fund and bought every student a big kit with all the things you go down to the store to get: A binder, notebook, calculator, ruler, math guage, colored pens and pencils, glue sticks,” Horton-Yokom said.

“They said, ‘We wanted to make sur that everychild had everything they needed on the first day of school,'” she added. “It’s such a positive place. … People were standing everywhere and talking. It was very nice.”

Though western Nevada County schools open earlier than those in Sacramento and in the Tahoe area, local school administrators have said the tradition of starting the school year in mid-August began when local educators sought a year-round school schedule.

They had implemented some changes to the schedule when concerns arose over poor air quality in the summer, when ozone blown up from the Central Valley on hot days can reach the dangerous level for sensitive people.

The year-round schedule was never completed, but the changes already made were left in place.

In addition, California law standardized the number of instructional days to 180. Local students get a week off in October to make up for the early start, administrators said.

Raging wildfires in June filled the sky with smoke, curtailing outdoor summer activities.

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