First day of school for thousands of students in Sonoma County

  • Helen Lehman Elementary School kindergartners play in the quad before the start of the first day of school in Santa Rosa.

Holding a glue stick aloft and looking intently into the eyes of her young charges, veteran teacher Robin Duranszyk posed an important question to her 22 brand-new kindergartners on the first day of school Monday morning at Helen Lehman Elementary School in Santa Rosa.

"Do we glue the desk? Do we glue our faces? Do we glue our shoes? No. Where do we put it?" she asked the group sitting "crisscross-applesauce" at her feet.

"On the paper!" they responded.

First Day Of School In Sonoma County


The first of many lessons learned.

Monday marked the first day of school for more than 20,000 students across Sonoma County, including the county's largest district, Santa Rosa City Schools. Class also started up in Bellevue, Bennett Valley, Mark West, Twin Hills and Wilmar.

It's all hands on deck for the first day of class, said Helen Lehman Principal Bev Jones.

"We enlist reading teachers and aides to help kindergarten on day one," she said. "On the first day, we try to get as many adult bodies as possible. It works out well."

At Cook Middle School, the halls swelled with about 460 students -- about 60 more than predicted.

"It's the Compact for Success and parents are finally saying, 'Our school is safe,' " Principal Patty Turner said in explaining for the Santa Rosa school's growth.

Compact for Success, launched last fall, guarantees a spot at Sonoma State University for Cook Middle School students who graduate from partner Elsie Allen High School with a 3.0 grade point average in college preparatory curriculum and who meet other requirements.

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