BACK TO SCHOOL: Thousands of LAUSD students head back to class for first day of school

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District students headed back to class as the 2018-2019 school year kicked off on Tuesday.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District students headed back to class as the 2018-2019 school year kicked off on Tuesday.

New teachers, new schoolmates, new assignments - it's a busy day for students! It's also a busy day for LAUSD leaders too - who are overseeing more than 1,000 schools.

MORE: Strategies for a smooth transition from summer to school

Incoming LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and Board of Education members gathered at Edward R. Roybal Learning Center for a campus tour. They also visited other schools to welcome principals, staff and students on the first day of the school year.

"Today is a bit of a whirlwind, so I hope you have your jogging shoes on because we're going to try to share with you the journey, not just of the district, but the journey that our students make every day when they come to one school in our district. We have more than 1,000 schools across 700 miles. Each day, a parent trusts us to educate their child at one school in our district," Beutner said.

Beutner toured campuses this morning without discussing the possibility of a teachers strike. United Teachers Los Angeles is asking for 6.5 percent salary increases, lower class sizes and changes in testing.

"It's our job to make sure every student in Los Angeles Unified reaches their full potential," Beutner said.

School safety was also a top priority on the first day of school. LAUSD officials joined LAPD Chief Michel Moore at Woodrow Wilson High School. Moore praised school district staff for improving their awareness of the mental health challenges kids can face.

"When someone next to you is having problems or challenges, and they're beginning to act out in a matter that looks like they might be a risk to themselves or the public, to bring that to the attention of a counselor to identify that," Moore said. "That's not a bad thing, that's a good thing. That's leadership. And that's assuring the safety of all of us."

MORE: 4 ways to ease your kid back into a school routine

At Glenfeliz Boulevard Elementary School for Advanced Studies, Ela Niculescu is starting the first grade alongside her big brother, Allessandro.

"I'm a bit nervous to go to first grade and a bit excited," Ela said.

Most of the parents at Plasencia Elementary ditched their cars to walk instead, avoiding a traffic jam outside school. School back in session also means more congested freeways and roads around schools.

"It's just really cluttered with cars and congested here. It's a little cul-de-sac, so it's hard to get in," parent Javier Zaizar said. "Just to keep the kids safe, it's easier walking."

For Caroline Ramirez's son, Nathan, being back in school is better than summer.

"At summer, you're lonely, you don't see your friends," Nathan said. "It makes no sense. Why do they have summer?"