Emotions were charged Monday as bells rang out, signaling the first day of school for Killeen Independent School District.
For pre-kindergarten students and their parents, the day was a combination of excitement and sadness, both boiling to the surface as they hugged and began a new journey in life.
“It’s tough to let those babies go, but they’ve gotta let those babies go,” Jo Wasson, principal of Venable Village Elementary, said.
Wasson, who has been principal of the school for five years, described the first day as an adrenaline rush, full of excitement, but also very chaotic.
“You can plan, plan, plan and you’re hoping that everything falls into place, but it doesn’t always,” she said, adding that that’s just her experience.
The teachers, she said, are always ready for the new school year, preparing all summer for the new year, excited to meet their new classroom family.
“The most exciting part of the first day of school is when the kids come in and they’re excited about learning and finding out what’s going to happen,” fifth-grade teacher Dana Easter said.
Easter has been teaching for more than 27 years and said her students never fail to inspire her. Although she is their teacher, she said they teach her as well, which makes her excited to come back year after year.
“I enjoy the learning and the excitement that comes with it,” Easter said, “when they think they can’t do something and you show them that they can.”
To prepare both teachers and students for the new school year, KISD hosted a Meet the Teacher day on Aug. 22. Besides meeting their teacher, the event allowed students to familiarize themselves with the location of their classroom, drop supplies off early, fill out paperwork and have fun.
The event is also helpful to the teachers, who can put a face to a name and remember the children on the first day of school. Maryann Ramos, principal of Clear Creek Elementary, said Meet the Teacher also alleviates some of the stress the students may be facing and she wants them to start off right.
“I still remember my first day of school and I would like to have their first day of school to be as good as mine,” Ramos said.
As the principal of Clear Creek Elementary for the past 11 years, Ramos said it is incredible to walk down the hallway and see children as young as 2 and 3 years old in her school, walking down the hallway, delivering lunch reports and picking up attendance reports. Pre-K students can enter school at 2-years-old, if they turn three by Sept. 1, Ramos explained.
“It’s really incredible,” Ramos said. “When they’re allowed to do what they can do, they will do.”
Ramos and Wasson both have one goal in mind – to make sure every student succeeds. Parents should also contact their child’s school to stay actively involved.
“Welcome to the best place,” Wasson said. “We’re family – we are family and we’re excited to have them on board.”
To register a child in a KISD school, visit https://www.killeenisd.org to fill out the required forms.
For those just moving to the Fort Hood area, enrollment can be completed mostly online. After establishing an online account with the child’s school district and filling out the online forms, parents should make an appointment with the child’s school to finalize paperwork and provide the required documents, which include:
• Current original utility bill (not a telephone bill) to establish proof of residency.
• The parent/guardian’s valid photo identification.
• A copy of the student’s Social Security card.
• The student’s original birth certificate, valid passport or other legal document that establishes identity.
• The student’s current immunization records. Up-to-date immunizations are required before registering or attending school, unless an affidavit for exemption has been provided.
• A withdrawal form, transcript or final report card from the last school the student attended.
• Proof of guardianship.
Information regarding state requirements can be found at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize.
Six of KISD’s 32 elementary schools are currently located on Fort Hood, but every single school in the district educates military-affiliated students. While it was once difficult for students to transfer schools from one state to another, that is no longer the case. All 50 states signed the Military Interstate Children’s Compact, an agreement that helps military-affiliated students stay on track.
The agreement makes the transition from state-to-state easier, allowing students to enter classes and participate in extra-curricular activities in which they were previously enrolled at their former school.
For more information about the Military Interstate Children’s Compact, visit http://www.mic3.net.