School is back in session for the most of the Valley, and with the start of the new school year comes some changes. In the Scottsdale Unified School District, there are several new programs, principals and even some new campuses to start the 2014-2015 year.
One of the biggest changes of the year will be early-release Wednesdays for kindergarten through fifth grade. Students at 16 elementary schools will be released at 1 pm every Wednesday rather then the usual dismissal time of 3:15 pm. The three K-8 schools, Copper Ridge, Cheyenne and Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center, will not have early release Wednesdays.
Another big change is that middle school students can take an honors English program this year. The honors classes will have a strong focus on writing and include more reading of novels and research projects than regular classes. Cocopah Middle Scholl will offer honors social studies and science classes, while Copper Ridge Middle School will launch a program in which honors students take all three subjects in an integrated curriculum.
In the Cave Creek School District two schools will offer Mandarin Chinese immersion programs. Horseshoe Trails and Whispering Winds will offer this program to all students. The Paradise Valley School District will offer evening high school classes this year including English, Math, Science, Art and History classes. The nine week courses are in a traditional classroom, not online.
Several schools are welcoming new principals this year. Arcadia welcomes Nathan Slater, Cheyenne Traditional welcomes Grace Stombres, Sequoya Elementary welcomes Veronica Shute-Leiper and Supai Middle School is pleased to have Shelly Slick-Hummon.