▶️ School year starts next week: Local teacher on what it takes to prepare

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Students across the High Desert will be packing backpacks and filling buses next week when the 2023-2024 school year begins.

Public school is not in session yet, but teachers have been hard at work prepping for the first bell ring of the year.

“The first few days for little ones, they feel scared and they’re not sure what to expect. So the main goal for all teachers in Bend-La Pine is to create a sense of community and belonging,” first grade teacher at Juniper Elementary School Kristina Burkhart said.

Burkhart has been teaching for 18 years.

“Teaching is an art and a science because there are scientific best practices and engagement strategies and learning strategies in how kids learn in developmental stages. So we have to know all of that, but we also have to make it fun. The best way to do that is make sure they’re doing, and not just sitting and listening,” Burkhart said.

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Burkhart says prepping for the new school year takes a lot of effort.

 “I don’t keep track of the hours. If I did it would probably blow my mind. It’s a lot of hours. It’s also a lot of hours of thinking about the kids coming to me and what I need to do and get done in my classroom every day.”

The first day of school for Bend-La Pine students Grades 1-6 and grade 9 is Wednesday. Unlike normal weeks, it will be a full day for students. For grades 7-8 and 10-12, the first day is Thursday. The first day for all kindergarteners together is Friday, Sept. 8.

In Redmond, the first day for grades 2-6 and 9th graders is Tuesday. 10th and 11th graders start Wednesday and first graders start Thursday. 

In Crook County, grades 1-6 and 9th grade start Tuesday. Grades 7-8 and 10-12 start Wednesday. Kindergarten starts Sept. 11.

In Jefferson County, start days vary depending on which school and grade.

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