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School's back - for now

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Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 will break open the books Tuesday (Sept. 6).

Most of the schools in Squamish start the school year with a one-hour drop-in on Tuesday.

All the elementary school students are expected to attend school from 9 until 10 a.m.

Grade 9 and 10 students at Don Ross are expected between 8:15 and 10:10 a.m. then Grade 8's will attend from 10:20 a.m. to 1:25 p.m. The Howe Sound Secondary students are to attend from 8:35 to 11:45 a.m.

"I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new and returning students, their families and our community members for the 2005/06 school year," said Doug Hackett, the chairperson of the School District 48 Board of Trustees in the annual message from the chair of the board.

Bus schedules for each of the schools operating in Squamish are published in this week's edition of The Chief on page 18 and the same schedules are also posted on the school district's website (www.sd48.bc.ca).

The calendars for each individual school are also available at the website.

ICBC is reminding drivers to be especially watchful in school zones this week.

"During the first days of school, children may be too pre-occupied to remember road safety rules," said Laurie Baker, the ICBC road safety programs manager. "Drivers need to keep this in mind, especially around schools."

The speed limit in school zones during school hours is 30-km/h. And, after more than two months in hiatus, the big yellow school busses will be back on the road and drivers are reminded vehicles have to stop when school bus red lights are flashing. The flashing lights indicate students are either boarding or getting off the bus.

Students are guaranteed at least two weeks of classes before a possible labour disruption. Teachers in Squamish and around the province take a strike vote between Sept. 20 and 22 with results to be announced on Friday, Sept. 23. Teachers will decide if there will be a strike based on the results of the vote.

"We would rather not have to do so, but we have been working under increasingly difficult classroom conditions for many months and our students deserve better," said B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF) President Jinny Sims.

BCTF representatives met with education minister Shirley Bond on Wednesday (Aug. 31). The meeting led to further discussions through the end of the week.

The B.C. Public School Employers' Association reports the BCTF is trying to negotiate issues that are not up for negotiation. The teachers want to discuss class sizes but that issue is set by legislation and not a topic up for discussion as part of the current labour negotiations.

jfrench@squamishchief.com

Back to school tips for a smooth start:

If your children are going to a new school, be sure to bring the required information or identification with you on registration day.

Get your children started on their school routine before the first day. Consider having them shift to their school bedtime and wake-up routine a few days before school begins.

Choose clothes for school early. Have them select their outfits the night before. This helps start the morning on a calm note.

Meet your children's teacher and principal. You can get valuable insight into their progress by talking to school staff.

Get involved in the school community. Contact the school board or your school's Parent Advisory Council for volunteer opportunities.

Source: BC Ministry of Education

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