Most Upper Arlington High School students will start class Aug. 21, but for freshmen and all other district students, the first day of school is Aug. 20.
Only freshmen attend the first day at the high school.
Students picked up books and schedules this week at the high school. An Aug. 14 orientation session for the parents of freshmen was designed to help parents get to know new administrators and classroom teachers.
Ryan McClure is the new principal at the high school. He replaces Emilie Greenwald, who recently was named chief academic officer for the district. McClure formerly was assistant principal and athletics director for South-Western City Schools. He also was principal of Licking Heights High School.
McClure said parents take a tour of the high school during freshmen parent orientation night.
"We give them the opportunity to meet counselors, administrators and teachers and tell them what they should expect as their child begins learning at the high school," he said. "After about an hour presentation, the administrators and I hang around and answer any questions parents might have about the program."
He said the "freshmen-only" first day of school Aug. 20 will allow those students to go through their schedule of classes in a more relaxed way and participate in team-building activities with teachers and classmates.
"We want to make sure freshmen get more individual attention with our staff on that first day to eliminate as much anxiety as possible," he said. "A freshmen-only first day has been a great tradition at the high school and we want to continue that tradition."
McClure said upperclassmen trained as mentors walk along with freshmen through their schedules.
"I think a lot of kids like to hear things from an upperclassman as opposed to an adult," he said. "The peer mentors are a big part of the day and help the kids to feel relaxed and confident."
The new principal said he met a number of parents over the summer and has met with various school groups.
"I've had a lot of opportunities to meet staff members and we have been having meetings every day, which will continue up to the first day of school," he said.
McClure said his biggest goal for the new school year is to foster relationships among parents, staff members and students.
"I think the first thing and the most basic thing we want to accomplish is to make sure we have a great partnership with our parents and our community so that we can assure students will have a great school year," he said.
Hastings and Jones middle schools scheduled sixth-grade mentor days this week on Aug. 14 and 15. All middle school students return to class Aug. 20.
Upper Arlington elementary school students also start the school year Aug. 20.
The Wickliffe Progressive School PTO will hold its annual school supply sale from 1 to 4 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, in the school gymnasium, 2405 Wickliffe Road.
Food trucks will be available for food purchase and popsicles will be served to students beginning at 4 p.m. that day.