TAWAS CITY – Summer is winding down, and the transition to a new season also means that it’s time for the 2019-2020 school year to begin.
For most students in Iosco County, the first day of classes will be Monday, Aug. 26. Kindergartners at Richardson Elementary School (RES) in Oscoda, however, will have a start date of Wednesday, Aug. 28.
There are five districts in the county, including Hale (HAS), Oscoda (OAS), Tawas (TAS) and Whittemore-Prescott area schools (WPAS). Additionally, the Iosco Regional Educational Service Agency in Tawas City provides career, technical and special education programs/services to 13 schools in the county.
Details on start times, open houses, transportation, lunch programs and more for the various districts are provided below.
Tawas Area Schools
Open houses at the district have been set for today (Wednesday) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Clara Bolen Elementary (CBE), from 5-7 p.m. at the middle school and from 6-8 p.m. at the high school.
TAS students attending CBE – located at 211 S. Plank Rd. in Tawas City – will begin their day at 7:54 a.m., and wrap up at 2:48 p.m. Classes for the middle school and high school students will run from 7:50 a.m. to 2:49 p.m. in the adjoined building, located at 255 W. M-55 in Tawas City.
According to TAS Superintendent Jeffrey Hutchison, all students in the district are welcome to free breakfast, with CBE students also receiving free lunch.
Those in junior high will pay $2.15 for their lunches, while the high school students will pay $2.35 this year.
Hutchison said that bus information was provided during the TAS orientations, it will be available again at the open houses this evening and it is posted on the district website, as well, which can be accessed at www.tawas.net. The website also contains a list of resources for parents, details on TAS athletics and other activities, staff information and more.
Further questions can be directed to the central office by dialing 984-2250. To reach CBE staff directly, call 984-2200. For the middle school, dial 984-2300. The high school offices may be reached at 984-2100.
Oscoda Area Schools
Students in first through sixth grade in Oscoda who attend RES, located at 3630 E. River Rd., will report for classes at 8 a.m., with a release time of 3 p.m.
Kindergarten students will hold their first day on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 8 a.m., according to RES Principal Tami Pichla. Staff may be reached by calling 739-9173.
Pre-K through 12th graders will be provided with free breakfast and lunch through the Community Eligibility Provision. Families will be asked periodically during the year to fill out a household information survey to determine eligibility for free meals. Additions to the standard lunch provided will cost students $2.75 for an a la carte meal that will entail more options from which to choose.
Oscoda High School (OHS) students in seventh through 12th grade will also begin school at 8 a.m. and end their day at 3 p.m. Additional details can be found by contacting the high school office at 739-9121.
Superintendent Scott Moore said he knows that the earlier start time for school shortened the summer for students and staff. He explains that, overall, this wasn’t an issue that the OAS Board of Education pushed on other schools, but an idea that was pushed on them.
He said to ensure students have equal opportunities on the first week of school for dual enrollment and the technology center, it was necessary that they had an agreement with other county members in Tawas, Hale and Whittemore-Prescott.
An open house for OHS and RES will be held tonight (Wednesday). The event at RES will take place from 5-7 p.m. Dinner will be served in the cafeteria, once families complete a household information survey as the ticket for their dinner. According to RES staff, this is a great time for students to meet their new teachers.
The OHS open house will go on from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Families are encouraged to meet the staff, learn about the school and programs, roam around the building and enjoy a quick meal.
There will be a freshmen and parent/guardian orientation in the auditorium at 5:30 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., a mock schedule will be provided to help students get comfortable with going from class to class. An important senior parent and student meeting will be held in the auditorium at 7 p.m.
New this year are the four changes that have been made to the course catalog, which were discussed at the Aug. 12 OAS Board of Education meeting.
The first references a change under “Required Classes.” The catalog that once read, Physical Science A & B, has been changed to Science 9 A & B.
In a section titled, “Elective Courses Offered Every Year,” it is noted that Recreation Sports and Aquatics was removed.
Under the section titled, “Elective Courses That May Be Offered,” included is the addition of music theatre (if staffing and students request it).
Finally, the largest change took place under “Dual Enrollment,” which listed the online classes provided by each program, including GenNEt, APEX, Learning and PLATO. For the 2019-20 school year, the verbiage has been moved to “Virtual Learning” and reads, “Online classes provided by GenNET, APEX Learning, Michigan Virtual and Edmentum may be available for students to take for high school credit.”
Moore is also notifying students, staff and parents about the work being done to address significant draining problems in the parking lot. Repairs may be complete prior to the first day of school; however, he said he would like everyone to be aware of it.
As a reminder, parents will be allowed to take their children directly to their classroom on the first week of school. Following this, Moore asks that parents leave their children at the office and let them get to their classrooms.
Calendars, bus routes, dress codes and other information can be found at www.oscodaschools.org, as well as in the district newsletter, The School Observer, which contains details about the start of school and is mailed to homes in the district.
Information in regards to the OAS strategic plan can be found at www.oscodaschools.org, under the board of education tab, according to Moore.
Hale Area Schools
HAS students in kindergarten through 12th grade are to report to one building, located at 311 N. Washington St., from 8 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.
There will be no school for students and teachers on Friday, Aug. 30, in celebration of Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 2.
Last year, students were provided with school supply lists during the first week of classes. This year, HAS Secretary Ashley Howell said the lists have already been e-mailed out to families, and anyone who may not have received one can contact the office at 728-3551.
Also, all grades will be provided with breakfast and lunch at no charge throughout the school year.
Those curious about bus route information can contact the transportation office at 728-7771. All calls pertaining to pickup and drop off changes should be directed to the transportation office and not the school, according to staff.
Parents and guardians must notify the transportation office of any changes in a child’s transportation schedule before 2:15 p.m. during the school day.
Tonight (Wednesday), HAS will host a “Meet the Eagles” event as a fall sports kickoff to recognize all fall athletes. It will be held from 7-9 p.m., at Vern Reid Football Field at Eagle Pointe Plaza.
Additionally, an open house was held at HAS on Aug. 19, followed by an ice cream social. More information and updates can be found on the district website at www.haleschools.net.
Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools
Those attending WPAS middle school and high school will begin their classes at 7:55 a.m., and be dismissed at 3:04 p.m. Elementary students – Pre-K through sixth graders – will also start their day at 7:55 a.m., with a release time of 3:10 p.m.
An open house has been slated for tomorrow (Thursday) from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., during which class lists will also be available.
The elementary building is located at 8878 Prescott Rd. in Whittemore, and is a short distance from the high school campus, which houses students in grades seven through 12, at 6001 Mills Rd.
As noted on the district’s website, all WPAS students will again receive free breakfast and lunch during the upcoming school year.
Free meals include one entrée, three sides and one milk, in accordance with the state of Michigan meal pattern. If a student opts for “extras,” the district must charge him or her, as outlined in the state’s meal pattern. Additional entrées will cost $1.75, sides will be 75¢ and extra milk will cost 50¢.
Parents/guardians are asked to fill out the Household survey, which will be sent home with each student.
A transportation handbook and other details regarding the new school year at WPAS can be found by visiting www.wpas.net.
To contact the WPAS elementary school offices, dial 756-2502. Junior high/high school staff may be reached at 756-2501.