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Back to school time for Inyo’s youth

August 22, 2011

School starts next week for most Inyo County students. With the start comes high school sports, Back to School nights and Picture Day. Photo courtesy MetroCreativeConnection

It might not feel like it but summer is unofficially over – at least for local youth.
School starts next week for most Inyo County students, and has already started for some. Students in the Bishop Unified School District and Round Valley start school this coming Monday, Aug. 22;Big Pine students start Tuesday, Aug. 23; Lone Pine kids go back to class, Wednesday, Aug. 24; and class is in session for the Death Valley School District starting Monday, Aug. 29.
Kids in Independence started school this past Wednesday. The Owens Valley School District includes the elementary school and the Owens Valley High School Academy. The high school was transformed into an academically focused institution last spring in an attempt to boost enrollment. The high school was close to lapsing, or closing, due to small enrollment. The school needs at least 11 average daily attendance, or ADA, students to escape lapsation. ADA refers to the average number of students that attend on a daily basis, not simply students enrolled. Superintendent Joel Hampton said that so far this year, 11 students from throughout the county have joined the academy with more to enroll next week.
Enrollment at the elementary school has seen a recent spike, now totaling more than 50. Hampton said the hope is that those elementary students will transfer up to the high school and keep enrollment up.
Hampton added that through an agreement with the Lone Pine School District, students at Owens Valley High may participate in California Interscholastic Federation, or CIF, sports at Lone Pine High School. Transportation to practice in Lone Pine and event departures from LPHS will be provided by Owens Valley.
For many years, the Lone Pine and Owens Valley school districts have shared services, such as transportation and some faculty, as well as students. Hampton said the two schools have the same number of inter-transfer students; 22 Independence kids attend school in Lone Pine, and 22 Lone Pine kids attend school in Independence.
“We all want the kids to get the best education in the best educational environment,” Hampton said.
Owens Valley will have its Back to School night and Picture Day Sept. 15.
Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo is operating the Independence Youth Center, open after school from 2:30-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center is located in the Kids Club Building on Market Street.
Big Pine Unified School District will start the year off with Back to School Night on Tuesday, Aug. 23, a chance for parents to meet teachers and staff and for the community to enjoy a free barbecue. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. For more information, call the school at (760) 938-2222.
Round Valley will celebrate Back to School night on Aug. 30.
Round Valley and Bishop elementary schools all work on an early-release schedule Monday, meaning the kids get out between one and two hours earlier than they do the rest of the week.
School starts at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22 for K-5 graders in Bishop, with K-3 getting out at 1:25 on Mondays and 2:15 the rest of the week. The fourth and fifth grades get out at 2:15 on Mondays and 3:05 the rest of the week.
There is a designated Safe Route to School system in the City of Bishop primarily for students walking or riding bikes. The route allows for the safest access to the three-school complex. For more information about the route, go to
Incoming freshman to Bishop High School were given a smooth and welcome introduction to the next move in their academic career. New to Bishop High this year was the Link Crew, part of the Boomerang Project, that specializes in school transitions. Freshman orientation on Thursday incorporated the Link Crew to take some of the sting out of stepping into high school halls.
Lara Andersen, BUHS guidance counselor, and Counselor and Senior Advisor Kathleen Stout started working with Boomerang in March. Andersen said 41 juniors and seniors who have shown leadership potential were chosen to mentor the incoming group of freshmen. The upper-classmen took the freshmen on a tour of the school, explained some high school dos and don’ts, like the tardy policy and not to step on the painted Bronco in front of the library, and what it takes to be successful in high school. “And, not to be afraid to be yourself,” Andersen said.
She said the mentors will check in on the freshmen throughout the year. Andersen said she hopes the program will continue and become an annual event.
For more information on the Link Crew, go to
Bishop High gets started with sports action right out of the gate with tennis and volleyball games against Burroughs on Aug. 30. Bronco Football action starts on Sept. 8 against Oak Hills High School.

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