A return to school and in a sense, a return to normalcy for many families and students in Paso Robles.
At Pat Butler Elementary School, this year, like their school motto says, is all about hitting their stride.
“This year is all about our teachers getting right back to where we were five years ago. The same quality of instruction, the same number of students in classes, the same parents being able to participate in classes as they did five years ago," said Pat Butler principal, Damien Capalare.
Capalare said this year there are also some new changes.
“The biggest thing we have this year is the amount of support we have for our students has increased this year. So, this is the first year we’ll have a full-time counselor all five days a week, which is super important for our student's mental well-being," said Capalare.
The new school year didn’t come without some challenges.
“We lost personnel and spent most of the summer filling positions. We still don’t have bus drivers, we still don’t have pair educators, we’re still lacking some of those support positions but we’ve managed through," said Dr. Curt Dubost, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Superintendent.
School district officials say there are a couple of schools where families will see construction.
Pat Butler Elementary is one of them. A new shade structure is being built for students to eat lunch under.
The principal says it’s something the school has needed for more than a decade now.
“With supply chain issues and contractors not being able to get workers, and sometimes not even getting bids for some of our projects, things that we thought would be done today are not quite done," explained Dubost.
While there aren’t exact numbers on enrollment yet, Superintendent Dubost said he feels pretty good about enrollment rates this year.
At Pat Butler Elementary the principal told KSBY they have about 400 students which is just slightly down from where they usually are.