The Cambrian

School starts in Cambria next week. Here’s what you need to know

Coast Union High School.
Coast Union High School.

Remember when school started on the day after Labor Day? No more.

Be alert, motorists and family members! Students at Cambria schools head back to their respective campuses Wednesday, Aug. 22, to start the 2018-2019 school year.

Safety officials remind drivers to be extra aware when going through school zones or areas in which students are apt to be. Some young people may be more distracted as they adapt to their new routines.

While schools Superintendent Vicki Schumacher said in an email interview Monday, accurate enrollment numbers won’t be known until the first day of school, initial estimates are in now.

Those include:

• Fewer kindergarten/transitional kindergarten students.

• Fairly stable census for the grammar school.

• Lower middle-school enrollment, in part because last year’s eighth-grade class had 72 students in it, an unusually high number.

• Larger enrollments at Leffingwell and Coast Union high schools, in part at Coast because most of those 2017-2018 eighth graders will be incoming Coast freshmen this year.

District Board President Samuel Shalhoub said the district has had a decline in enrollment of 97 students between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

While the district is “experiencing a downward trend in student enrollment,” he said, “we remain committed to providing the best public education possible to our existing student body. We have an extraordinary opportunity to work closely with students, to facilitate individual learning and develop a tight-knit community of students, teachers and parents.”

As of Monday, Schumacher said 27 transitional kindergarten/kindergarten students were enrolled, but she anticipates more will enroll when school starts. So far, 126 middle school students have enrolled (down from 146 last year). She didn’t give initial figures for the high schools.

What’s new

The middle school won’t offer Spanish as a standalone course this year, but will incorporate it into a seventh-grade English language arts/history/world languages program.

Mock Trial won’t be offered either, as enrollment isn’t sufficient to support it. It may be offered as a club, however.

Other new courses have been added, such as high school agriculture leadership.

The high school also added two new dual high school/college enrollment courses (introduction to agriculture mechanics and foundation of digital graphic art). Those were added to the six dual enrollment courses already offered at CUHS.

New teachers, their assignments and their backgrounds include:

• Yvonne Staffler, district-wide agriculture and high school ASB activities, who received honors from Merced Community College and placed on the Dean’s list at Cal Poly. She holds a Cal Poly BS degree in agriculture science, concentrating on animal science.

• Bodhi Hodges, third-grade instructor, who previously was library media technician at the grammar school.

• Anastasia Killham, grammar school library media technician with a Cal Poly bachelor of arts degree and a background that includes journalism, graphic design and sustainable farming. She has previous instructional experience at Coast Unified.

• Whit Donaldson, seventh-grade English language arts/history/world languages teacher, a Cambria resident who recently taught middle school in Paso Robles.

• Lisa Boland, high school special education/resource program, who previously taught in the San Luis Coastal district.

• Sarah Johnston and Laura Parker, high school language-arts, who hold Cal Poly single-subject credentials and did student teaching at Morro Bay High School.

Buses will bring many students to and from school, and the number of routes may increase once the district fills a driver vacancy, Schumacher said.

“Transportation remains a high priority for our students, and funding for transportation has been allocated through our Local Control Accountability Plan,” Shalhoub said.