Vail K-8 students head back to the classrooms

Back to school for Vail School District

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It's back to school for the Vail School District.

All K-8 students reported back Monday, July 15th, for the 2019 to 2020 school year - including those at Cottonwood Elementary.

Students were welcomed as they walked on a red carpet while staff members greeted them.

It's a tradition many Vail schools do on the first day.

Principal Sarah Bates said she's excited to see her teachers and students after a six-week break.

“The first day of school is such an exciting time. Our kiddos can expect to do rules and procedures and also a lot of team building,” Principal Bates said.

Cottonwood is one of the district's schools that will have a new option for parents - full-day kindergarten.

District leaders wrangled with the idea for a long time before it was voted in earlier this year by the governing board.

“We are so tremendously excited that our community supported that effort. Full-day kindergarten is something that we’ve wanted for a very long time,” said Bates.

Students taking part in the initiative will spend half the day with a certified teacher and the rest of the day with a specialist.

"We're just very excited to have those kids here all day so we can enhance their learning opportunities," said Principal Bates.

Krista Hooper is a kindergarten teacher at Cottonwood, working hard all summer to prepare her classroom for her little superheroes.

“The super hoopers, so it’s a lot of superhero themes," she said.

Hooper said like most first days, it'll be routine - but fun.

“A lot of procedures and team building, and icebreakers for the little [kindergarteners] that are starting their very first day of school," she said.

Like Bates, she said full-day kindergarten will help her students long-term.

“We’re gonna have so much more opportunity to develop their reading skills, which is going to help them in their long run, in their future," she said.

Meanwhile, parents like Stephanie Hernandez and Camber Urban said their final goodbyes. The two co-parent - mom and step-mom - wanted to make sure the six-year-old they share had a huge send-off.

“He had a crew drop him off this morning. We had to come here in a bus," said Urban.

Both happy to share the first day of school experience.

“We feel like the more support, the better for him. We like to do all of these things together," said Urban.

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