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VALLEY NEWSWATCH / A SPECIAL REPORT: SCHOOL'S BACK

September 07, 1993

FIRST DAY: It's Back to School Time! And you know what that means: metal detectors, more budget cut woes and that voucher time bomb that just keeps on ticking. . . . Luckily, there is lots more to education, and on this first day back at most public schools, we visit three to find out what's new.

A HEALING TIME: In February, a student was killed at Reseda High School by a rival tagger. But out of tragedy has come something hopeful. . . . "We have more parent volunteers for this year than we ever had before," said Principal Robert Kladifko. "I think they wanted to help us, to show support, and we are glad to have them." Volunteers will help teachers in the classrooms.

LITTLE DYNAMO: This year, Gorman Elementary is planning to expand its library, get a satellite receiver and add new software in its computer lab. The school, in the remote Tejon Pass, is the smallest in Los Angeles County with only about 70 students and two teachers. . . . "We aim to serve our clientele," said Principal Randal Jolin. "We also have plans for building improvements," with much of the work on the school, opened in 1939, to be done by local volunteers.

KID STUFF: Maclay Junior High School in Pacoima doesn't get a first day. It's so crowded, the school has to sustain a multitrack, year-round schedule. . . . But that doesn't mean it's without something new. Maclay has just started a "careers with children" program that brings 3-year-olds into the school every day. "Our students take care of them--everything from playing with them to taking them to the bathroom," said Principal Cecilia Costas. "They learn the skills they would use in parenting or perhaps for a career in education." And the students think the little kids are very cool. "Some of them do it two periods in a row," Costas said, "they love it so much."

Head of the Class

San Fernando Valley middle schools with highest average CAP* scores in most recent testing; perfect score is 400: 1. Rosemont Junior High: 331 2. Wright Middle School: 320 3. Lindero Cyn. Middle School: 319 4. Placerita Junior High: 304 5. Porter Junior High: 301 * California Assessment Program

Source: State Dept. of Education

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