Back to school

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Today’s the day — the first day of school for thousands of students in Las Vegas. East, West, Highlands and Luna all have classes starting today for the 2012-13 school year.

Welcome back, everyone. We hope it’s a great year for all of you.

Perhaps the biggest change this school year is occurring on the east side, where the Las Vegas City Schools district is launching its four-day school week. The success or failure of such a schedule remains to be seen, as is its impact on the West Las Vegas School District, but we’ll leave those discussions for a later time.

Today, let’s talk about the opportunities for success, especially at the primary and secondary schools. After all, that’s what today is all about — new opportunities for fresh young minds.

Today, educators and students get a start on a new school year.

Hopefully, teachers are refreshed after a chance to slow down to a summer pace, because they’re now facing an array of new names, faces, personalities, attitudes and aptitudes. All the students in front of you have light bulbs in their heads ready to be turned on, if only the switch can be located.

We hope you’ll find that switch. It’ll brighten up the whole school year if you do.

As for the students, you too should be well rested and ready for another round of living and learning. We hope you will take advantage of what’s in front of you — a chance to make new friends, gain new experiences and learn new things. Allow your curiosity to get the best of you, and take advantage of your surroundings. The world is an exciting place, and school is a great place to be introduced to it. It’s not just about grades, you know, it’s more about what you learn. More than anything, it’s your chance to get ready for “the rest world” that’s coming at you.

As for the parents, it’s also a fresh start for you. Sometimes, parents are the missing ingredient. It’s your job to be involved. Even if your child doesn’t want to tell you about what’s going on at school, you need to know anyway. Help them with their homework. Know as much as you can about your child’s teachers, friends and classmates. What your child gets out of school depends greatly on your interest and involvement.

This could be the best school year ever. Or it could be the worst. It depends on us — all of us — as to which way it goes. Let’s make it a great one.