Among the 1,450 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders arriving at John Muir Middle School for the first day of school on Monday was 11-year old Anahit Khamtrashyan, who was beginning sixth grade.
She said she was most looking forward to meeting new friends and learning sign language, in addition to taking part in extracurricular activities.
"I want to learn how to cook, too," she said as she joined the roughly 16,000 Burbank Unified students who started the new school year at the city's 20 public schools.
Fellow Muir students and twin sisters Nareh and Ani Lachikian, 11, posed for a picture before entering the school's main building.
Nareh admitted she was nervous, but she was most looking forward to her science class, and Ani was excited about her math course.
Meanwhile, campus supervisor Araz Shadkam held a list detailing the location of all of the students' first-period classes and was pointing youngsters in the direction where they needed to be after the ring of the first bell.
"I'm more nervous than they are because I'm directing them to their right places," she said. "They're excited to be back. They're waiting for the bell to ring so they can run in the hallways."
In the school's busy front lobby, Principal Greg Miller was also helping students with directions.
"This is going to be the best year yet," he said.
On the academic side, there are seven teachers new to campus this year. They're joining the school's effort to roll out a new campus-wide writing program.
"It's structure and strategies for writing that every classroom across the campus is going to use because writing's important, and our kids aren't always good at writing," Miller said. "Even good students struggle with writing."
Also, a new Spanish language course will be offered to Muir students, he added. The course is a result of the Burbank Unified school board voting last year to resurrect world-language studies for middle-school students for the first time since the district did away with them in 1997 because of budget cuts.
Facilities upgrades this year will also give Muir reliable access to wireless Internet, and a new heating and air-conditioning system in the school's auditorium.