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San Diego Unified School District kicks off new school year after storm-related delay

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Posted at 6:57 AM, Aug 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-22 16:24:10-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A day after the start of classes was delayed due to Tropical Storm Hilary, all San Diego Unified School District schools on Tuesday welcomed back students for the first day of the 2023-24 school year.

On Sunday, SD Unified officials postponed Monday’s first day of school out of “an abundance of caution” in light of the storm.

“The first day of school brings joy, it brings excitement,” said SD Unified Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson. “They deserve a day like this and yesterday just would not have been a great first day.”

Jackson said some schools sustained water damage during the storm. Staff worked Monday to make necessary repairs prior to the students’ arrival.

“We had some ceiling damage,” said Jackson. “We had to relocate some of our classrooms. We had to check computer rooms to make sure that they were safe and that students had access to technology.”

At Hoover High School, the staff, cheerleaders, and the band made sure students had a great start to the new year.

“I’m very excited to get my senior year started and create my last memories in high school,” said senior Reyna Flores.

Flores is a cheerleader and member of the school’s ASB. She said the group has a lot planned for her classmates this year.

“We’re actually starting our first student section after a couple years,” said Flores. “It’s ‘Code Red.’ It’s going to be hopefully bringing more people to our football games.”

Jackson said San Diego Unified is offering some new programs this year.

“We are bringing more community resources onto our campuses moving from five to 15 community school. We expanded our athletic programs to include a women’s flag football. So this is a great opportunity to see her young ladies go out there and compete on the football field.”

Flores shared some advice for all of the returning students, especially those heading to a new campus this year.

“The best memories you’re making is because you put yourself out there and you’re willing to put the energy and the time in. So, if anything, just reach out and I’m sure there’s always somebody that’s going to be there for you,” Flores said.

First day excitement for instructors

The first day of school is one full of emotion for many students and parents, but also for the teachers.

Leyla Leatherwood, a teacher at E.B. Scripps Elementary School, said, "It's always nerve-wrecking meeting new students especially new parents. We just want to make sure they like us and make it an inviting environment.”

Leatherwood said there’s so much to do to prepare for the new school year from getting her classroom ready to getting things organized for her 20 kids.

There’s also an added cost. While the district provides the materials for the curriculum and the school provides some of the student supplies, the rest is out of pocket.

Leatherwood told ABC 10news she typically spends about $500 to $7,000 a year for her class. But she said it’s all worth it, when it comes to these moments.

“I love the ‘ah ha’ moments. So that's why T-K has been so fun for me. I'm literally there when they learn the letter A. It makes the sound ‘ah’ and ‘a.’ So, it's really rewarding to see that have that come back the next day. And still remember that information.”