First day back to school goes off without a hitch 

Having pre-registered for classes, Burlingame High School sophomore Katherine Pierce avoided long lines on the first day of school.

But she and some 1,300 other BHS students did run into a logistical problem now that the school has completed the first phase of remodeling and infrastructure work done with proceeds from a $137.5 million bond measure passed in 2000.

"Almost everyone got lost," Pierce said. "I’m used to portables."

Tuesday marked the first day of classes at the six comprehensive high schools in the San Mateo Union High School District, and also the first time in approximately four years that most of the campuses won’t be partial construction sites.

With the exception of some work on the tennis courts, construction at Aragon High School is complete, Principal Kirk Black said. The school, after four years of work, now boasts brand-new classrooms, a science building, new library and new softball field.

Though construction didn’t pose a big problem for day-to-day operations, Black said it’s a welcome change to have a complete campus again.

With the structural changes at Aragon High come some curriculum additions, including classes on digital photography and advanced-placement music theory and calculus classes to add to the school’s several college-level courses.

Construction has wrapped up at Hillsdale High School, Principal Yvonne Shiu said. Projects included a new administrative building, remodeled locker rooms and work on a new artificial turf field, which is expected to be unveiled on Friday.

"They worked well around us and were sensitive to special events," Shiu said.

Seventeenth district PTA President Kathryn Cross said that one of the major issues for her this year will continue to be whether the school will opt to be a Parent Teacher Organization school instead.

The national Parent Teacher Association is a formal organization that pays dues to its state and national headquarters. PTO, on the other hand, is a generic term that refers to any single-school group that works under its own rules and spends money only in its area.

Cross said PTA gives local school advocates more power in the education arena, and she wants to keep Aragon under this system.

"We think PTA is the way to go," Cross said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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