Bright and sleepy-eyed, shy and excited students accompanied by their parents, were greeted Tuesday morning by smiling teachers and administrators andndash; it was the first day of school.

Kalmiopsis Elementary School

At Kalmiopsis Elementary School, first through fifth graders met their new teachers, and completed assignments.

"It went very, very smoothly," Kalmiopsis Principal Helena Chirinian said. "It was great. No major anything today."

Right now enrollment is at about 665, a little higher than anticipated.

Chirinian's favorite part was watching the students arrive, and directing those who were unsure where to go.

For second-grader Ashley Young, the first day of school went well; she liked "seeing new people."

Young also had a chance to color and do some math.

Second-grader Brian Walker enjoyed his first day, too.

"We did a coloring picture, and we had three recesses that were fun, and we did a test" andndash; it was easy, Walker said.

The best part of the day was studying animals' life cycles.

For third-grader Jonah Lee, day one was busy.

He had to complete "a big math assignment and write complete sentences in boxes that didn't get to fit." (The boxes weren't big enough for Jonah's long sentences.)

This year, Kalmiopsis is trying something new for kindergartners.

Instead of guessing which students would fit best together in a class, and how high- or low-performing the little ones are, staff decided to implement a Kindergarten Start Up.

The first two days of school, all of the kindergartners are given a placement test to determine where they fall academically and behaviorally, with the goal of creating five balanced classes.

At the end of the week they will be placed in classes. Full-day kindergarten will start next Tuesday.

Azalea Middle School

At Azalea Middle School, sixth graders and new students attended a Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) program Tuesday.

The purpose of the program is to orient students to the school, and to make them feel comfortable.

"It was a day full of lessons and activities. Everything from how to come in the cafeteria to get lunch to how to use my planner, my locker. All of those were covered today," Azalea Principal Sheryl Lipski said.

The day was led by WEB coordinators Jennifer Berger and Jason Fulton, and the WEB leaders andndash; a small group of eighth-grade students.

Azalea's instructional assistants shared lessons and trained students as well.

"It was a great first day," Lipski said. "I could see they were happy and relaxed, which is the whole point of it."

The first full day of classes for all students is today (Sept. 5).


High School

At Brookings-Harbor High School, freshmen and new students attended an orientation Tuesday, which was planned by BHHS teacher and counselor Kristi Fulton.

Students completed a walk-through of the school, met their teachers and key people like the librarian, guidance office, dean of students and principal. They learned school policies, played games, and were given information to be prepared for school.

"It went very well," BHHS Principal Larry Martindale said. "It's geared at building relationships. andhellip; It's all about getting them to be comfortable the first day of school. I think it really helps relieve some inhibitions, fears and stress. I think it's really important for them."

Martindale observed students smiling, and renewing friendships. The freshmen were a little reserved and wide-eyed, but he said their true personalities will shine through by the end of the semester.

About 150 students attended the orientation. There are about 130 freshmen and 35 new students.

The first full day of classes for all students is today (Sept. 5).