Live Oak and Castaic elementary ring the first bell of the year
The clock ticked, the sun rose slowly while a mother and daughter talked and laughed on their way to school – with summer break just behind them.
It was 7:45 a.m. as Joceyln Gage and her daughter Meadow, 7, walked up to Live Oak Elementary’s gate. They hugged and kissed, and parted ways after finding Meadow’s second-grade classroom.
“[Summer overall was] good. We spent most of it at the beach and it was amazing,” Gage said. “I’m happy to have her back in school.”
“[I’m excited] to meet new friends,” Meadow added.
The bell rang loud and clear — the sound reminding the Castaic neighborhood school is back in session.
The Castaic Union School District kicked off the first day of school Tuesday with hundreds of parents dropping off their children at their respective schools. At Live Oak Elementary, the Parents Teachers Association set up a photo backdrop for families to photograph their children.
PTA members also had a doughnut and coffee booth set up for parents to enjoy, said Principal Stephanie Beach.
Castaic resident Jose Luna dropped of his sixth grader Damian Salazar at Live Oak Elementary, and later, his middle school student Tania Salazar.
“I’m happy. Yeah, they’re growing up,” Luna said.
Luna said he enrolled his children in Live Oak because he feels it’s a safe school, and also, he attended the school. He laughed and said other parents should bring their children to Live Oak Elementary School.
Beach said the first day of school went great.
“It went smoothly,” Beach said. “And it just felt great to have all the kids back on campus. So happy to be here seeing their smiling faces.”
According to Beach, the last two years were a little more restrictive due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to a major renovation project, which was recently completed on her campus.
The first day of 2022-23 school year felt positive and lighthearted, she said.
Principal Allision West of Castaic Elementary School said they were building up to the first day of school. Her campus had its back-to-school night just the day before, they held a popsicle drive to give out to students, and next week Castaic Elementary will be hosting a parents’ breakfast for their first PTA meeting.
Beach also described a similar situation at her campus with events fostering community and connections between students, families and school staff.
“We really want to focus on building the relationship,” Beach said. “We’re really fine tuning our curriculum, focusing on essential standards… and you know, to get kids focused on what they need to know to be successful.”
Both principals agreed they were excited for the school year and to teach students, but it all starts with creating a welcoming and warm community for everybody — with the goal to support students’ education.
“Our leadership team, along with our teaching staff, has gone through a lot of training,” West said. “We’re hoping to address learning gaps this year. And we’ve looked at our data, and we’re just excited to pick up where we left off in June and really focus on learning.”