LAUGHLIN — Monday marks the first day of the new school year for children in Laughlin and across the Clark County School District. The K-12 program that began in late January with the departure of Dr. Lynne Ruegamer continues with Dawn Estes at the helm of Bennett Elementary School and Laughlin Junior Senior High School.

Probably the biggest change will be the synchronized bell schedule for the junior and senior high schools, which means students in grades 9-12 will have the opportunity to get an extra hour of sleep.

“Our grades 6 through12 will all start on what is currently the middle school schedule,” Estes explained. “The buses will roll onto campus about 7:30; kids will eat breakfast 7:30 to 7:50; and then classes go from 7:53 to dismissal at 2:34.”

In years past, “The buses rolled onto campus at 6:30 every morning,” Estes said. “The athletes sometimes wouldn’t get home until 10 or 11 at night and then we asked them to be back at school at 6:30.”

The schedule for Bennett students will remain the same, with buses arriving at the school about 8:35 a.m. and the first bell ringing at 8:50. School will end at 3:15.

Another change this year is the availability of free breakfast for all students pre-kindergarten through 5th grade regardless of income status.

“All students will begin the morning in the multi-purpose room so they can eat breakfast, participate in a new program called ‘Operation Respect’ and receive homework assistance, if needed,” said Estes.

Research has long shown that students who are hungry do not learn as well as those who have eaten breakfast prior to attending classes. The Universal Breakfast Program serves to remove the stigma that only poor students eat breakfast at school.

In accordance with CCSD’s revised Wellness Policy, physical education classes for students in grades pre-kindergarten through the 5th grade will increase from twice a week to 30 minutes every day; and students in grades 6 through 8 will receive 49 minutes of daily PE classes. High school students will receive physical education training as determined by their graduation requirements.

To help navigate the changes as well as to familiarize kids and families with school routines, an open house will be held for grades pre-K through 5 at Bennett Elementary on Friday, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Junior high and high school students and their families are invited to attend an Open House from 12 to 2 p.m. Friday at Laughlin Junior Senior High School.

Classes schedules, suggested school supply lists, dress codes and other information will be available at each event.

Additional information can be obtained by calling BES at 702-298-3378 or LJSHS at 702-298-1996.

The Safe Key program - available for children in kindergarten through the 5th grade - is once again being offered by Clark County Parks & Recreation in Laughlin. The doors will open at 6:30 each school morning at Spirit Mountain Activity Center, 1975 Arie Avenue.

Art supplies, games and other organized activities will be available. CCPR staff members will then walk the children through the park to Bennett Elementary in time for the start of school.

Cost of the program is $4 per day per child or $16 per week if paid in advance. Call 702-298-3413 to register or for more information.

The Boys and Girls Club in Laughlin, also located at 1975 Arie Avenue, will again sponsor the after-school program for kids ages 6 to 16 (5-year-olds will be accepted if they are potty trained and have attended a semester of kindergarten), from 2:30 until 6 p.m. each school day. Bennett students will be escorted to the facility; bus service will be available for LJSHS students.

Cost is approximately $70 a month, depending on the number of school days. For the first week of school, the price is $21. Additional details, including scholarship information for low-income families, is available by calling 702-299-9223.

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