Education at a Junction

Long-awaited school on west side opens for sign-ups
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein The Press-Tribune
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It's been done for more than a year, and has long been stocked with desks, white boards and all the other paraphernalia of learning. But now the Roseville City School District's Junction Elementary is finally ready for its most important assets: teachers and kids. Dozens of parents, most with children in tow, headed to the railroad-themed kindergarten- through fifth-grade school on Wednesday for the first chance to register students for its opening this fall. The response was bigger than we had anticipated, Superintendent Rich Pierucci said Thursday. We had 28 kindergartners register, and we were projecting about 20 to start the year. For many families, the day marked the end to built-up anticipation as district trustees had delayed the school's opening because of slow home sales and enrollment in its WestPark attendance area in west Roseville. So, shortly before 1 p.m., a line roughly two-dozen strong waited for the doors of the school office to open and the registration process to begin. At the front were Steffani and Anthony Krause, whose daughters Trinity, 4, and Lili, 6, became the first to be registered “ Trinity will enter kindergarten and Lili is headed for second grade. The new school will mean just a short walk across a nearby park for the girls to attend school. Currently, mom or dad must drive Lili about six miles to Diamond Creek Elementary School, where many children in the area attend. Steffani said the smaller scale of the school “ it could open with just 100-200 students “ would be beneficial. I think it's great, it'll be more hands-on for the kids. The smaller the class sizes the better, she said. The school's attendance area, which consists primarily of the WestPark development on the city's west side, has felt the effect of the sluggish housing market. The resulting lack of school-age children in its boundaries delayed the school's opening date until officials were comfortable it would be financially feasible. Pierucci said the school, which is named for the city's pre-Roseville moniker, will open with about 150 students. Roughly 90 currently live in its west Roseville attendance area. Because of its small size, the school won't start out with a full-time administrator. Woodbridge Principal Dave Phillips, while keeping his existing job, will serve as the school's overseeing principal. He'll have help from a teacher in charge, who will be chosen in the coming weeks. For those in line, though, all that mattered was the school was ready for them “ and they were loving it. Evelyn Braziel and daughter Jamie, 4, also turned out Wednesday. It's definitely nice to have the convenience of a neighborhood school, especially since it's been ready for so long Evelyn, whose daughter will enter kindergarten this fall, said. We've been driving by and she'll say, ˜When's my train school going to be ready?' Tammi Dela Torre was also excited for the quick commute the school would engender when daughter Taylor, 6, enters first grade. Oh my gosh, it'll cut down at least 15 minutes, she said. It'll be nice when she can walk to school.