Schools all set to open

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BDN file photo (From left): Prairie Hill Elementary Second Grade students Annabelle Schultz and Riley Anderson enjoy the new slides at the school's playgroud last summer. School will be starting soon for Illinois students.

BELOIT - Back to school time is drawing near, with South Beloit starting next week followed by the feeder districts to Hononegah High School the following week.

South Beloit High School starts Thursday, Aug. 15 with freshman orientation on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

"It's always nice to get students back in the building, and we are excited about school beginning," said South Beloit High School Principal Jeremy Schaaf.

He said the high school is excited to offer the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program this fall for the first time. Offered by many other area schools including the School District of Beloit, it is a program dedicated to increasing career and college readiness in students.

Offering AVID follows the South Beloit district's hire of College and Career Readiness Director Emily Rohr last year to help students cultivate interests, develop career paths, explore colleges and obtain internships. She also works with Hendricks CareerTek to give students more career exposure.

"We've had students participating in many programs there. It helps broaden their expertise," he said.

In the AVID program, Schaaf said students learn about themselves and how to self-advocate. They discover how to speak up about what they need as a student and begin asking for help when needed.

"They build deeper connections with students and other teachers, increase organizational skills, reading and literacy skills which translate to career and college readiness," Schaaf said.

The first day for all students at Hononegah High School is Monday, Aug. 19. The first day for freshmen is Friday, Aug. 16.

The Prairie Hill School District in South Beloit, as well as Rockton and Kinnikinnick schools, start Aug. 21.

Prairie Hill Elementary School Principal Kevin Finnegan said the district is eager to welcome students.

"The school's parent staff association will host a big setup on the first day welcoming kids back to school. There will be lots of photo booths set up for parents and kids outside and inside the school," Finnegan said. "We really make it holiday-like and a big event."

Two days later, on Aug. 23, Prairie Hill Elementary will have its back to school barbecue picnic featuring bounce houses and a dunk tank with district administrators.

Turnout for the picnic, Finnegan said, is rather remarkable.

"Families who don't even have kids in school come out," he said. "It's sort of like a homecoming reunion."

Rock County Christian School starts Aug. 28 in Beloit.

In the School District of Beloit, classes begin on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The elementary and intermediate schools have their open houses on Thursday, Aug. 29. Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) has its open house on Tuesday, Sept. 10, according to Public Information Officer Brian Vissers.

Turner Superintendent Dennis McCarthy said the first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 3, but it will look a bit different in each building.

At Powers and Townview there will be individual meet and greet conferences with teachers from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. . At Turner Middle School all students will have orientation day and a regular schedule. At Turner High School it will be orientation day for ninth graders and student leaders. All students will be in session on regular schedules Wednesday, Sept. 4.

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