The first day of the school year is in full swing in Santa Monica. Students are clad in backpacks with sharpened pencils in hand and ready for fresh academia while teachers are ready to mold impressionable minds.

Edison Language Academy, a dual-immersion language school in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School district, was particularly well prepared for its first day.

Within the school’s sunshine yellow gates were student’s abuzz with energy, hugging friends, teachers, and mom and dad before the school bell rang. Once the crowd of kids dissipated, parents took advantage of the school’s tables set up with coffee, fruit, and pastries, helping to get parents back into the swing of things as well.

Elga Yoque, a parent of a third-grade daughter attending Edison, was excited for the school year ahead. Drinking a coffee with another parent, she paused to tell the Daily Press that although there may get a bit of separation anxiety, she’s ultimately happy for her daughter. “I’m excited! Its mixed emotions, [my daughter and I] will miss each other. But I want her to good and be happy. Learn and be with her friends.”

On the flipside of parents and students are the workhorses of the school district: teachers.

Nathan Fulcher, an English teacher at Samohi, “just can’t seem to get away” from schooling, having spent his summer teaching courses at Samohi and taking professional development courses. After a brief two weeks to unplug from all things school related, Fulcher is ready for what the new school year will bring.

“One of my main goals every year is to make sure that students leave my classroom with the ability to think critically about the world they live in and the aptitude necessary to navigate an ever-changing and complex world,” he said. “I always hope they gain a new perspective and that my love for reading and writing has been passed on to them.”

While the challenge of expanding minds is fun one for Fulcher, the English Department chair says a challenge he’s not looking forward to is construction at the school.

Samohi and several other schools throughout the district are undergoing improvements and modernization efforts in order to bring the schools to 21st-century learning standards.

“It reminds me of those signs you see that say ‘pardon our progress.’  Even though the construction poses its own challenges, in the long run, it will all be worth it.”

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