JACK BARNWELL/Kodiak Daily Mirror

Kodiak Middle School science teacher Jonathan Brown, left, starts his eighth-grade class off with an exercise Wednesday morning during the first day of school. 

In the midst of rain and fog, Kodiak middle schoolers and high schoolers returned to classrooms yesterday morning for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

First- through fifth-graders are scheduled to start today at Kodiak’s four elementary schools. Kindergarteners are scheduled to start class next Tuesday.

At the middle school, students were lined up at different entry points around the building, waiting for the doors to open and bells to ring. 

“We are off to liquid sunshine, and kids are here,” KMS Principal Todd Burton said. “We are excited to have them back.” 

Burton said the sixth-grade orientation on Monday and iPad distributions on Tuesday went smoothly, allowing students to begin right away.

Burton said the middle school has a lot of new electives open for students, as well as “more students in the building.” 

“We’re excited about the friendships and learning and all the aspects of pre-teens being pre-teens getting to do things associated with this age group,” Burton said. 

Some goals for the year, Burton said, include implementing new after-school student clubs and organizations such as a homework club.

“We’ve got a new offering we’re working into this school year for seventh- and eighth-graders,” Burton said. “It’s a learning cafe to assist some students who might be struggling with math, English, attendance or literature.”

Burton estimates about 450 students will attend Kodiak Middle School this year.

At Kodiak High School, students were greeted with a wave by KHS Principal Neil Hecht. Students stopped briefly to pick up their school-issued iPads before moving on to their first-period classes.

“The students are excited as we have a majority of them coming in for face-to-face instruction,” Hecht said. “They were smiling even though they were wearing masks, with everyone saying good morning.”

Hecht estimated about 620 high school students will be attending this year.

Hecht said one of the things he looks forward to this school year is maintaining a “face-to-face” presence in school as long as possible.

A few new programs are being offered this year, including after-school tutoring. Russian language is also being offered. Other programs, such as auto shop, wood construction, culinary arts and choir are returning after a brief hiatus as new teachers fill the spots.

“We have a lot of new faces for a lot of the same programs we had two years ago,” Hecht said. “Students are excited to be in those programs again.”


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