CHIMACUM — School is in session for grade school students within Jefferson County, with those in Chimacum adapting to a new grade distribution.
Port Townsend and Chimacum school districts began Tuesday and Quilcene and Brinnon schools start today.
Chimacum’s new system now places seventh grade students in the high school and sixth grade students in the elementary.
Port Townsend’s “bubble class” of students, which has about 20 percent more students than the average, moved up to the high school and started ninth grade.
Chimacum eighth grade student Fiona Tracer was glad to return to school.
“I really like going back to school, I guess you can say,” Tracer said. “I was a little bit nervous though, but I think that is normal. I didn’t get many classes with my friends, but I’m OK with that.”
Chimacum’s commons area was packed with students and a few teachers Tuesday morning, waiting for the first bell to ring.
Para-educator Kathy Paddock was happy to see the students back.
“It is great,” Paddock said. “Everything is fresh and brand new. The seventh grade is now up at the high school and [the students] are excited about that. There’s a positive energy in the air.”
In addition to moving grade levels around, Chimacum also completed multiple capitol projects over the summer such as painting the primary school and redoing the entire concrete floor in the high school’s commons. Work is still being done to complete the gender neutral bathrooms in the high school, Superintendent Rick Thompson said.
“I think people were impressed with our new elementary school site,” Thompson said. “Nice big hallways, nice classrooms, they had good flow. We don’t have all the construction done, but we made a pretty substantial dent in what our goals were to open school.”
The capitol projects were completed with the help of a capitol levy, which Thompson is hoping shows the community that they are getting a good value fore their tax dollars, instead of the district needing to pass a bond, which would have had a bigger increase in taxes.
Chimacum still has some bugs to work out with the transportation, but Thompson said that officials added more routes this year for their busses, and things should settle down soon.
“So far as I am concerned, it was a really successful day,” Thompson said. “It was really fun to see the energy and enthusiasm. Our staff did a great job of preparing under circumstances of construction and room changes.
“I just think everyone did a really nice job.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].