First day of class for Tracy Learning Center
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Aug 04, 2014 | 3882 views | 1 1 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Back to school
Math teacher Leslie King talks to her seventh- and eighth-grade algebra students on the first day of classes Monday at Discovery School at the Tracy Learning Center, 51 E. Beverly Place. King has taught at the school since its inception 14 years ago and plans to retire at the end of the school year. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
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After 14 years of teaching at Tracy Learning Center, Leslie King still has a case of nerves on the first day of school.

“I’m as nervous as they are,” King, who will retire at the end of the school year, said inside her algebra classroom on Monday. “It’s the first day of my last year. It’s been a good day. The kids are on their best behavior, focused and ready to go, and we’re ready for the kids.”

Monday marked the return to reading, writing and arithmetic for Tracy Learning Center’s Primary (K-4), Discovery (5-8) and Millennium High charter schools. The 1,200 students enrolled at the three schools at 51 E. Beverly Place are among the first in Tracy to begin the academic year.

Executive Director Virginia Stewart said that she and her staff were ready for the opening day.

“Every year is exciting, and this new year is going to be a happy new year,” she said, standing in a hallway of the school. “I had a P.E. teacher say to me, ‘Every year I have butterflies.’”

This year, the school has experienced a dramatic change in faculty, with 26 new teachers replacing those who left in June for reasons that included promotions and jobs closer to home, Stewart said.

“We’ve been interviewing since March, and the caliber of people we found was impressive,” she said. “I think the pool of candidates we had for the openings were extremely impressive, and the new teachers we have I think are going to enhance (the school) even more.”

It didn’t take the students long to jump back into their studies.

“It’s fun to be back with my friends and learn new things,” fourth-grader Julian Jfouf, 9, said as he wrote an essay about his summer activities. He is part of a combined classroom for 60 third- and fourth-graders that is taught by a team of four teachers.

Inside kindergarten teacher Shannon Tyler’s classroom, children were making hats inspired by the Dr. Seuss story “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” as part of a lesson on classroom conduct. Working hard on their hats were 5-year-olds Ava Perez and Natalie West.

“I like learning,” Natalie said. “School is fun.”

“I’m glad to be back at school,” Ava said. “I like making stuff. It’s exciting to come to school.”

The first day of school was more traumatic for the parents than the children, according Warren Snell, director of business technology and business development.

“There was more crying from the parents than crying kids,” he said, “but the first day got off without a hitch.”

“It’s more than academics at TLC,” he added. “There’s lots of things we do to make it a good place to work and go to school. It’s why we’re all here. We like it.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at or 830-4225.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 06, 2014
I am a fan of The Tracy Learning Center. I am happy that the new teachers will enhance the school.

I know that the new teachers will have to work hard to keep the high standard of the school just as the teachers and staff that left for various reasons did while they were there.

My hope is that these new teachers will be appreciated and shown the respect they deserve.

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