Los Angeles Unified School District began its 2022-23 school year on Monday, welcoming both new students and faculty.
For Karin R. Aguilar, the new principal of San Fernando Elementary School, the first day went by smoothly, although she would like to remind parents to make sure they pick up their children on time, as a number of students were still left after dismissal.
“I anticipate that gets better as the days go on …,” Aguilar said. “We had a lot of kids and I think maybe some parents thought the kids were enrolled in the after-school program, and they were not.”
Aguilar was previously the assistant principal at Canterbury Elementary School in Arleta for almost five years. One of the reasons she decided to interview for principal at San Fernando Elementary was because it was closer to her home in Santa Clarita but also because she had heard many positive things about the school.
“I have a friend that used to be a teacher here, and at my former school, one of the teachers there knows the teachers here, so I just heard some great things and I decided to interview for it,” Aguilar explained.
Aguilar doesn’t have many concerns about the rest of the school year, although she did acknowledge that a rise in COVID-19 infections could reinstate mandatory masking or the Daily Pass screening where parents would be required to upload their child’s COVID-19 antigen test results.
Looking toward a positive new school year, she advised parents to take their child’s school work seriously. School is very important and much more than something a child has to do.
Aguilar looks forward to the school’s Spirit Fridays. Two Fridays of the month are college t-shirt days, when the elementary students are encouraged to wear tee shirts and other attire with college logos on them. The message on the school’s website is that “college starts now.”
“I do want families to know that they’re welcome here, that we absolutely love children and students here and it’s a good place for kids to come,” Aguilar said.
LAUSD Reports High Truancy Rate During First Day
Although the 2022-23 school year began smoothly enough, many students were reported absent on the first day across the district.
Data from the Los Angeles Unified School District found the preliminary attendance rate for the first day of school to be 89 percent, 11 percent or around 50,000 students, were absent. Attendance was slightly better on the second day at 91.8 percent. The LAUSD school population is so large that these percentages reflect large numbers of students.
On the first day of last year’s 2021-22 school year, the attendance rate was 77 percent.
“[Attendance] dramatically improved over the last year, but with roughly [50,000] students still absent on the first day, we need to redouble our efforts in making contact with families, with guardians, with parents, ensuring those students come back to us,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a press conference Monday.