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Students Get Ready

With Sept. 2 start date approaching, students enjoy last days of summer while preparing for school year.

On a weekend with some of the best weather of the summer, Elizabeth Ronneberger was busy searching for the right school supplies.

Some students were trying hard not to think about the approaching school year, but Ronneberger was undeterred.“I’m excited to go to seventh grade,” said the Swanson Middle Schooler. “New friends, new classes.”

Students and parents across the county are getting ready for Tuesday, Sept. 2, the start of the school year in Arlington Public Schools. New teachers have already been at school for a week, and veteran teachers reported Monday, Aug. 25.

While many students were making the most of their last days of freedom, school officials were already experiencing the start of the school year. “It’s not coming up,” said school board chair Frank Wilson. “It’s been here for two months. We really haven’t missed a beat.”

With that work schedule, students will be a welcome addition, said Gregg Robertson, the new principal at Washington-Lee High School. “When you spend the summer in a building this size, you’re really ready for the students to come back,” he said.

Robertson’s decision to take the high school helm from Marion Spraggins, who retired at the end of last year, meant Ronneberger will have some changes to look forward to at Swanson this year. “It’s just going to be different,” she said. “I wonder what the new principal will be like.”

SCHOOL SHOPPING may not crowd the stores like winter holiday shopping, but students and parents were in no short supply at office supply and clothing stores this weekend.

Molly Rogers, 17, has been getting ready for her senior year at Washington-Lee by planning her wardrobe, but she wasn’t buying school supplies yet. “I’m trying to do my summer reading,” she said. But that’s all the schoolwork she wanted to think about this weekend.

International Baccalaureate classes gave fellow Washington-Lee senior Jessica Marsh even less free time over summer vacation. In addition to reading lists, Marsh is making her way through a 4,000-word extended essay. That means much of her final week of summer vacation will be spent in the library researching the conflict in Iraq, she said.

Many middle school students also had assignments for the summer. Nick Netting, a seventh grader at Swanson, said he already took care of an extra-credit book report. “I still have to do a math packet,” he said, “But I still have a week-and-a-half.”

Ronneberger didn’t want to cut it close going into the last few days. Planning ahead paid off, said her father Michael, as he wheeled a cart full of binders, notebooks and folders out of a Ballston office supply store. “I expected more people actually,” he said.

Vilma Thim, a parent of three Arlington students said her children had mixed feelings about heading back to school, but as for her, “I’m more than ready,” she said.

More back-to-school information, as well as a welcome to students and parents, will come from school superintendent Robert Smith on Sept. 2.