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Yes, parents and students, the rumors are true: It’s that time of year again, and the first day of school for the Woodburn School District is just around the corner.

For most students, the day will be Tuesday, Sept. 2, to be exact — the day after Labor Day. The only students granted a temporary reprieve will be 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders, whose first day is Sept. 3.

Following the school district’s tradition, the first day at Woodburn High School is reserved for first-years and serves as an orientation day of sorts for the newcomers.

That means the freshmen will also be the first high school students to enjoy the fruits of a $1.3 million repair and renovation project undertaken this summer by the district and its contractor, Skyward Construction.

The project was intended to resolve secondary damage the high school sustained during the May 2012 fire. This damage was caused by smoke, heat or water and occurred in parts of the school that were isolated from direct contact with the flames.

Despite the broad scope of the work needed, Superintendent Chuck Ransom said last week that Skyward is confident its work can be completed before the first day of school.

“They’ve already said they’re going to be working evenings and weekends until they get everything done,” Ransom said of Skyward.

He added that the work contract did include a clause providing that additional fees would be assessed to the contractor if the work is not completed by Tuesday.

Changes elsewhere in the district look to be less dramatic. Ransom said a districtwide change will be a greater emphasis on parents providing contact information, specifically a working email and a mobile phone number.

He said the mobile number is needed because the district wants to switch to text messages for attendance and emergency notifications, rather than the robo-calls used in previous years.

Even some parents who have shared their cellphones previously should contact the district to confirm, Ransom said, because the number may not have been listed as a cellphone in the district’s records.

“We need to confirm that it is a cellphone,” Ransom said.

A change that should surprise no one in Woodburn is that the district is continuing to grow.

Sonia Kool, with the district’s Welcome Center, gave the school board a preliminary enrollment report during its meeting Thursday, saying that a total of 5,839 students had been registered. Not counting those enrolled in the Arthur Academy public charter school or the Early College program, 5,614 were registered for the Woodburn School District.

As registration continues this week, it’s possible the final number could be pushing 6,000, though Ransom said that number is always inflated due to the fact that enrollment rolls at the beginning of the year still contain names of children whose families have moved out of the district over the summer.

“We always see a big drop-off the first day of school, then they start to trickle back in,” Ransom said. “I think we’ll end up at around 5,700-5,750, which is right as predicted.”

Kool said her biggest concern now is the district’s kindergarten classes.

“All of our kinders are full,” she said. “They’re all running through Heritage right now, and the numbers are climbing.”

Ransom said that projecting kindergarten enrollment is always the most difficult because it’s the students’ first entry in the district, whereas other grades can be more accurately tracked and predicted from the previous year’s classes.

Kool said that if another kindergarten class needs to be added, it would be placed at Washington Elementary rather than Heritage — which is already the largest elementary school in Oregon in terms of enrollment.

Woodburn will have districtwide late starts on Wednesdays this school year, with elementary schools starting at 9:25 a.m., middle schools starting at 9:50 a.m. and the high school starting at 9:30 a.m.

Tyler Francke covers all things Woodburn. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1195.

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