RIBIDOUX, CA — Middle to late June traditionally heralds the gradual winding down of the school year in the Jurupa Unified School District, according to The Press-Enterprise.
But for John Lewis, head custodian at Pacific Avenue Elementary School, and his colleagues in the maintenance department, it kicks off an annual summertime ritual — a whirlwind of cleaning, repairing and maintenance to prepare campuses for the fall semester, the article stated.
"We always have a summer plan," Lewis said this week as he moved methodically from room to room at Pacific Avenue, checking the lights, changing clock batteries and replacing damaged ceiling tiles. "Of course this year, we had to reformulate that plan," he said.
For years, Jurupa students returned to class after Labor Day, nearly a month later than most other school districts in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the article noted.
According to the article, at the urging of teachers and administrators who said an earlier start date would give them more time to prepare students for state tests, the district school board approved an August 11 start date.
"It was a challenge. It forced us out of our comfort zone," Lewis said. "But I enjoy a challenge."
Lewis and his crew got a two-week jump on the summer cleanup, starting as soon as pre-school classrooms were vacated — two weeks earlier than the rest of the school — and received district-provided assistance for some of the more daunting tasks, the article added.
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