Schools across the Klamath County School District opened their doors today (Sept. 5), greeting more than 7,100 students for their first day of the 2023-24 school year.

At Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School, administrators rolled out a royal blue “red carpet” for students as they entered the school and walked under a ballooned archway.

“We wanted to start the new year off by treating students like royalty,” said Chiloquin High Principal Ruben Paschal, who greeted students as they arrived.

That sentiment was shared by teachers and administrators across the district. At Ferguson Elementary staff gathered Monday to chalk paint the sidewalks leading to the school entrance with welcome back messages. At Bonanza Junior/Senior High School, students will get some royal treatment Wednesday – each student will get a free T-shirt with the school year’s theme: “Believe.”

“We’re really trying to get students to believe they are capable of great things,” said Bonanza Principal Jordan Osborn.

At many of the district’s junior high and high schools, only freshmen and seventh-graders attended today, giving them a chance to learn about their new school before older students join them Wednesday. Kindergartners and their families are participating in a new phase-in program, and will begin attending school next week, transitioning to full-time by Sept. 15. This week, kindergartners and their families are meeting with teachers and becoming familiar with their classrooms.

Glen Szymoniak, superintendent of the Klamath County School District, is pleased with the increasing number of opportunities the district is offering students this year.

“In our high schools, we are excited about our expanding CTE (career and technical education) programs and dual credit options,” he said. “In the elementary schools, teachers have been training in small group instruction and project-based learning, and we expect to continue to see positive growth in our younger students.”

Ruben Paschal, new principal of Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School, greets students on the royal blue “red carpet” as they enter the school on the first day Sept. 5, 2023.

A first-grader at Ferguson Elementary School raises his hand to ask his teacher a question on Sept. 5, the first day of school.