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VENTURA : Year-Round Campuses Are Back in Session

Instead of hitting the beach with sun block and surfboards, about 10,000 students in Fillmore, Ventura and Oxnard are packing notebooks and sharpened pencils and heading back to school this week.

Schools in those cities have year-round calendars and are beginning the new school year this week, about six weeks ahead of campuses on the traditional September-through-June schedule.

Miguel Nava), 11, who moved to Ventura from Los Angeles this summer, was on campus Tuesday at DeAnza Middle School.

“I’m kinda scared,” Miguel said in a voice barely above a whisper. “I don’t know anybody. I’d rather still be playing.”

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Haley Ferguson, 12, a DeAnza seventh-grader, said she thinks it is unfair that she has to return to school when her next-door neighbor gets to sleep in. Her friend goes to Ventura High School, which remains on a traditional school calendar.

“He’s home today, probably playing video games on his Sega, while I’m sitting here in school,” she said.

While going back to school earlier than their friends still makes some students turn green, more are beginning to accept the concept of the modified calendar, educators said.

“Our kids are used to going back to school in the middle of summer,” said Dave Myers, principal at DeAnza, where a year-round calendar has been in effect for four years. “This is business as usual.”

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Lynn King, who teaches seventh-grade math at DeAnza, said children may not admit it, but some like coming back to school early.

“I ask them where they went on their vacation, and many of them say they didn’t go anyplace,” she said. “They’re glad to be back with their friends and doing things.”

Five elementary schools and DeAnza are the only campuses in the Ventura Unified School District that follow the modified calendar. But all grade levels in the Fillmore Unified School District are on year-round schedules.

And Oxnard Elementary school district has been scheduling classes on the year-round calendar for nearly two decades.

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But some still feel a twinge of envy when they see other youth cramming video arcades and malls while they’re stuck in a warm classroom.

“We don’t get to see our friends in high school as much,” said Denise Vasquez, 13, a seventh-grader at DeAnza.

And there are scheduling problems for families. One of Denise’s brothers is in college and another is in high school, she said.

“My parents have trouble getting rides for all of us,” she said. “We’re all on different schedules.”

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