With the end of summer in sight - just barely - Northridge Local School District is preparing to get started on a new academic year.

With the end of summer in sight - just barely - Northridge Local School District is preparing to get started on a new academic year.

In store for Northridge schools are some new staff and administrators and a few new programs.

Superintendent John Shepard said new academic programs include changes in the basic language arts and mathematics curricula.

"Our year-long review of research and materials will offer Northridge students and families the latest in programming," Shepard said. "New K-12 language arts program curriculum has been adopted and parents and students will also benefit from the new 4-12 mathematics program and curriculum.

"Voter support in our levies enabled Northridge to purchase these curriculum programs, which we hope parents and students will find integrates the technology and at home online access," he said.

The curriculum was made possible by a May 2008 operating levy, Shepard said, which also enabled the district to staff additional math and science teachers.

"That levy helped us cover the unfunded mandates with the additional staff we needed," he said. "The requirements have changed, with students being required to take four years each of math and science."

The high school will be holding open houses before school starts, Shepard said, where parents will learn how to use the online system to keep up with their children's performance.

"Parents are going to find the online access helpful," Shepard said. "If a student says I forgot my book and can't do my homework - well, it's online."

The district also boasts something other area schools don't have.

"We're the first district in Licking County to have a full-time Chinese language program with an actual live teacher," Shepard said. "We'll start with the first year, then next year we'll offer Chinese 1 and 2, and the third year we'll offer Chinese 1, 2 and 3.

"With a third of the world speaking Chinese and all the commerce and trade, it's important that our students get a global education," he said. "It's one of the least taught but most common languages in the world."

New administrators and staff include Treasurer Jim Hudson, school psychologist Karling Ward and K-5 counselor Dawn Wilson.

Shepard also noted the district is seeking a five-year renewal of its 1 percent income tax levy, which expires this year. Voters rejected a permanent renewal in May.

Key dates for the new school year include:

First Day for Students - Aug. 25.

Northridge Primary Back-To-School Nights - New kindergarten students, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.; first-grade classroom visits, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m.; second-grade classroom visits, Aug. 23 at 6:40 p.m.; third-grade classroom visits, Aug. 23 at 7:20 p.m.;

Northridge Intermediate - Open house, Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m.

Northridge Middle - Orientation for seventh and eighth grade, 5:45 p.m.; orientation for sixth grade, 7 p.m.

Northridge High - Freshman orientation, Aug. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Transportation - For any questions and/or concerns about busing, call 740-967-7533.