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Ready or not, school is here // MEET YOUR TEACHER

(ran PAS edition)

Parents and their children aren't the only ones busily preparing for the start of the new school year.

So are school administrators and teachers.

"People always want to know what does the principal do when the kids aren't here?" said Land O'Lakes High School principal Albert Bashaw. "We're all pretty busy. It just keeps going on and on."

Schools all over central Pasco County are busy getting ready for the start of school, which is just days away. Positions are still being filled, teachers are preparing their lesson plans and school committees are meeting to discuss curricula for the coming year.

For Pasco County public schools, Aug. 26 is the day students return. And Tuesday is when new and returning students can register for classes countywide at public schools.

It's also a chance for parents and their children to meet their teachers and check out the school the youngsters will be attending this year.

"We hope to have as many (pupils) as possible come in," said David Estabrook, assistant principal at Pine View Middle School. "The kids get to see friends they may not have seen in a while. It becomes a real festive occasion. And we want the students and families to come in and take advantage of that and meet their teachers and get their classes."

Here are important dates and times for public and private central Pasco schools:

DENHAM OAKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Parents and pupils can meet teachers from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

LAKE MYRTLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Teachers will be on hand from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday for parents and pupils, but that's not all the school will offer that day.

"They can sign up for the Parent Teacher Association," said assistant principal Tammy Kimpland. "Or they can get bus information, order school spirit items, or inquire about the after school PLACE program. There will be a variety of things they can do."

School starts at 8:40 a.m. Aug. 26. Open house will be Sept. 24 and 26. School pictures will be Sept. 25.

A special event is planned at the school early this school year. Family involvement day will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 29.

"It's like a family Olympics," Kimpland said. "It's a day designed around families with good old fashioned themes like relay races and leapfrogging."

QUAIL HOLLOW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Registration times are 9 to 3:45 p.m. Tuesday for new and returning pupils. The school will also hold an open house at the same time.

SANDERS MEMORIAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Registration times are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday in the media center.

PINE VIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL: "We're pretty busy," Estabrook said. "We've registered more than 50 new students during the summer, students coming to Pine View for the first time, or coming from outside our boundary lines."

Pine View's registration times are 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday, and will resume in the evening for 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The school will hold its sixth grade open house at 7 p.m. Thursday.

"This will give incoming sixth graders an opportunity to visit the school, meet the teaches and get more acquainted," Estabrook said.

On Sept. 19, seventh and eighth grade open houses will be held, both at 7 p.m.

THOMAS E. WEIGHTMAN MIDDLE SCHOOL: New Principal Andy Frelick said everything looks smooth so far during his brief stint overseeing the school.

"Things are going really fine," he said. "We're just getting ready for the teachers on Monday."

Registration times are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. On Sept. 16, the school will hold its open house. Times have yet to be determined.

The first School Advisory Committee meeting will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 and the first Parent Teacher Student Association will meet at 8 p.m. that night.

LAND O'LAKES HIGH SCHOOL: Bashaw said one important change students and parents should take note of this year is that school will start five minutes earlier, at 7:45 a.m.

"It is important for everyone to know that," Bashaw said. "Because 5 minutes makes a difference."

On Monday, the faculty and staff will have its annual back-to-school breakfast, where new teachers and staff members will be introduced and new school policies and procedures reviewed.

Registration for new students is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

ACADEMY AT THE LAKES: Orientation for the private school's new middle class addition will be 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 24. Orientation for elementary grades will be from 1 to 3 p.m.

Elementary pupils return to school Aug. 26: the same day as public school pupils. Middle school pupils start classes Sept. 3.

An open house for preschool children will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 19.

The middle school open house will be Sept. 24, and the elementary school open house Sept. 26. All open houses will begin at 7 p.m.

"The next couple of weeks are the busiest of the entire year for us," said Loren Smolker, assistant headmaster. "We've been plugging along all summer, and we're still admitting students. It's an exciting time of the year for us."

Portions of the school's new middle school complex will open Sept. 3, but the entire building won't be open until a few weeks after that, Smolker said.

LAND O'LAKES CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: The school has grown from 90 pupils last year to 115 during the summer.

That growth has pleased the school's staff.

"Its extremely busy, we've grown tremendously, and we're very excited," said Brenda Szenay, of the school's staff. "We're very excited about the growth."

School starts Aug. 26 for elementary school pupils. The kindergarten programs will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon. On Thursday, orientation pupils who will be attending kindergarten or first grade and their parents will take place.

On Friday, grades second through sixth will receive orientation. Both sessions start at 7 p.m.