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LEMOORE — Parents held their children’s hand tightly as they walked into the first day of school for Lemoore Union Elementary School district.

All schools in the Lemoore Union Elementary School and Hanford Elementary Unified School District began Tuesday, a total of 18 schools.

At Lemoore Elementary School, teachers greeted the families and directed them to classes with a balloon arch above and Leo the Lion nearby.

As the music played in the background, Lovey Wills’ mom, Lisa Wills, attempted to take a first-day photo before walking Lovey to her transitional kindergarten class.

“It’s just that they’re growing up; she’s growing up,” Wills said as she held back tears. “I am so grateful that she’s ready and prepared.”

Wills was pleased with the setup of her daughter’s classroom saying they had good activities and it was very organized.

“The atmosphere in the classroom is wonderful and has really nice activities,” Wills said.

She said that Lovey likes playing with play dough so they played with the some of the class’ before school began.

“The first day is all about greeting the students, getting them to class and the parents seeing where their child will be for school,” Lemoore Elementary School Principal Amy Garcia said.

For Latisha Notah, it was her sons first day of a full school year after moving from Arizona in January. The boys are in the third and fifth grades.

“Today has been pretty easy,” Notah said. “They were excited to go back and see all the friends they made.”

Notah said she was impressed by how enthusiastic the Lemoore staff was about the first day of school.

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Notah and Wills both said they had an easy time navigating Lemoore Union Elementary School’s online system.

This year is the first year that the district is using the student information system called Aeries.

Susan Loper, the student database coordinator, said that Aeries can be used by parents to confirm enrollment and check on grades and attendance. She added that the portal is meant for student information and that parents will still need to keep up with the individual schools for lunch programs and school events.

Ryan Morales, the father of two Lemoore Elementary School students, said that the process of enrolling them was much easier this year.

“Previously, I would have to fill out all this paperwork and take it all to the office,” Morales said. “Now it is easy and convenient.”

Loper said that her office had a pretty quiet first day compared to previous years. She accredited part of the calm to the new online systems that helped parents enroll and re-enroll. She said that all the information on returning students is already in the system and parents just have to confirm it.

“It’s definitely cutting down on the paperwork,” Loper said.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or chelsea.shannon@lee.net.

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