Los Angeles

Half-Million Los Angeles Unified School District Students Return to School

Many of them might prefer to be visiting the beach Tuesday, but more than a half-million students instead will be heading back to class as the 2016-17 school year begins for the nation's second-largest school district.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King, members of the district's board, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education James Cole Jr. are among the dignitaries who will be fanning out across a variety of campuses to welcome the more than 640,000 students back to class.

King, who recently announced that the district had a 75 percent graduation rate for high school students in the class of 2016, will be pushing for to continue increasing that figure. She said the district is making an extra effort this year to help keep kids on track in their studies.

Specialized counselors will be assigned to "high-needs" high schools, while college and career counselors will be working with students at "struggling" middle schools. The district is also planning to provide additional resources to help English-learners -- a group that represents almost one-third of the district's students.

Parents, meanwhile, will have to ensure that their children are fully immunized before they're allowed to attend classes. A state law that took effect in January eliminated the so-called personal-belief exemption to the vaccination requirement, so LAUSD students will have to show proof of immunizations against such diseases as polio, measles, chickenpox, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

The start of school also means more children on city streets in the mornings and afternoons, and Los Angeles police issued a warning to drivers to be extra cautious. The LAPD will be conducting a "traffic education and enforcement task force" at various campuses to drive home the point.

Police reminded motorists to:

-- slow down, particularly in school zones;

-- be alert for small children who sometimes cannot be easily seen from behind the wheel; and

-- come to a full stop when a school bus has its flashing red lights and signal arm activated as it loads or unloads passengers.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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