Long Beach Area Students Return to School This Week

09.02.2012 | Press-Telegram | Kelly Puente

LONG BEACH – It’s back to school this week for thousands of K-12 students in the greater Long Beach area.

Bellflower Unified starts on Tuesday, while both Downey Unified and Long Beach Unified start on Wednesday. ABC Unified and Norwalk-La Mirada Unified kick off Thursday.

As classes start, the Los Angeles County Health Department is reminding parents that all students entering seventh grade are required to show proof that they received a pertussis vaccination (Tdap). Students who do not meet this requirement and do not have a valid exemption will not be allowed to attend school. For more information, visit

To be eligible to enroll in kindergarten, a child must turn 5 years old by Nov. 1.

Long Beach Unified officials are reminding parents that the district still has openings in its new transitional kindergarten program, which provides extra support for the youngest kindergartners who will turn 5 between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2.

The free transitional kindergarten program was created in response to recent state legislation that will phase in a new age requirement. To enter kindergarten, children eventually will have to turn 5 by Sept. 1, earlier than the old requirement of Dec. 1.

Once the age requirement completely changes, students who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2 will be required to take one year of transitional kindergarten followed by one year of standard kindergarten. The school district is implementing transitional kindergarten early thanks to a grant from the Packard Foundation.

The district will also open a new school this year. The brand-new Jesse Elwin Nelson Academy will open in Signal Hill on Wednesday with about 850 students in grades six through eight. Construction started on the 89,288-square-foot middle school on Cherry Avenue in summer 2009.

The $45 million project was funded through Measure K – money that is by law protected from state budget cuts and can only be used for school construction and renovation projects. Local voters approved Measure K in 2008.

With the start of the school year, students and teachers can also get some discounts and freebies. From Sunday through Tuesday, all Los Angeles-area teachers will receive 25 percent off their in-store purchases at OfficeMax during the “Thank You Teachers Event.”

Shaggy-haired students ages 5 to 13 also headed down to Mr. Baker’s Style Center on Sunday for free haircuts.

This is the fourth year 6th District Councilman Dee Andrews teamed up with Mr. Baker’s to offer free back-to-school haircuts.

“Each year parents are hit with many back to school expenses such as school supplies, clothing, and activity fees. This year is especially hard with the economy still struggling to recover,” Andrews said in a statement. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to save money while preparing their children to return to school.”

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