It was back to school Thursday, Aug. 1 for students in the Douglas Unified School District.
DUSD officials provided The Douglas Dispatch with enrollment numbers for the first day of school. There were 4,314 students enrolled, counting preschoolers; 1,567 at Douglas High School, 494 at Paul Huber Middle School; 444 at Ray Borane Middle School, and Joe Carlson Elementary had the highest elementary enrollment of all the elementary schools with 425 students.
They added more students were still enrolling on Friday so those numbers will be increasing.
For the students many were excited about returning to school and making new friends.
“I’m excited to meet my teacher and make new friends,” said 4-year-old Luis Acosta who, accompanied by his grandfather Angel Acosta, showed up for school at Clawson Elementary.
Kimberly Pearson, 8, who was starting third grade at Clawson, said she was looking forward to learning new things.
Esperanza Romero, who works at Stevenson Elementary and accompanied her daughter Sofia to her classroom at Stevenson, admitted the summer did go by fast but that she and her daughter were also excited about starting school.
“I’m excited about making new friends,” Sofia said.
DUSD administrators are reporting things were relatively smooth the first two days and school has gotten off to a good start.
At Douglas High School, students were bustling to get to class while those who procrastinated had to wait in line several hours trying to get registered.
New this year at DHS was the Parent Liaison Nubia Elias as well as the School Resource Officer Maria Cuevas.
“The Parent Liaison here at Douglas High School is a brand-new position,” Elias said. “What we are hoping to do is bridge that gap between community, parents, and school. We are going to have services available and we are going to have resources available for parents, students and teachers. Anything that is going to make the effort here of student success a solid one. So, if parents have any questions or need anything, I am the person they contact so we can get the ball rolling.”
Elias, who is a former teacher at DHS, believes the position needed to be filled by someone who is from the community and understands the daily routine of DHS.
“I have many connections, I know a lot of people because I have lived here all my life so I’m hoping to be a positive influence here,” she said.
Elias can be found on campus Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cuevas, a member of the Douglas Police Department, was recently hired to be the new School Resource Officer. She is also a former DHS student and recently had a daughter graduate from DHS so she knows not only the campus but also many of the students.
Her job will be to help deescalate any problem that should arise.
“Just in the few hours I’ve been here today, it’s been an eye-opener when the students look at you and wonder why a police officer is on campus,” she said. “I see this as a positive thing.”
She feels her being on campus will improve the relationship between law enforcement and the students.
“We’re not always the bad guy, we are here to help,” she said. “I’m excited about being here in this capacity. I really believe I can make a difference.”
Cuevas will also be on campus Monday through Friday during school hours.