Kids head back to school in La Conner

August 31, 2018
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First-grader Jaylen Paul wears a lion mask as his teacher Lisa Hedlund takes a photo Wednesday on the first day of school at La Conner Elementary School.

LA CONNER — Wednesday marked the first day of classes at La Conner Elementary School, and many students were excited to be back.

“(I’m excited) to see my new teacher,” said 7-year-old Sophia Edwards as she prepared to head into her second-grade classroom. “And to see my friends.”

Sophia’s classmate Dominick Johnson said he is excited to learn math.

“You get homework,” Dominick said of the difference between first grade and second grade.

La Conner is the first public school district in Skagit County to start school.

As the school bell rang, students playing on the playground lined up with their teachers, ready to head inside.

“This is a dream come true,” said Isabella Morgan, a student in Lisa Hedlund’s first-grade class as she sat at her new desk with her school supplies.

As the students settled in, Hedlund talked with them about the expectations for the upcoming year and what they would learn.

“We’re going to be like a family this year,” Hedlund told the students.

Each student was going to get to pick out a stuffed animal “buddy,” which will accompany them during reading time.

This year, the students will spend a lot of time learning about animals in preparation for their end-of-year field trip to a zoo, Hedlund said.

While the first day was exciting for many, it was a day that came close to not happening as scheduled.

On Monday, after weeks of negotiations, La Conner teachers voted to strike Wednesday unless a contract for the school year was reached with the district.

After a Tuesday negotiating session, the two sides came to a tentative agreement, which was ratified by the teachers that evening.

Teachers in the Burlington-Edison School District also ratified their contract Tuesday and the Sedro-Woolley School District came to an agreement with its teachers earlier this month.

School in Skagit County’s remaining public school districts is set to begin next week, barring strikes from the teachers who do not have contracts for this school year.

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