At Taylor Pool Monday afternoon, Rim Country students measured summer's dwindling hours in splashes.
"I like to get sun burnt," said incoming Rim Country Middle School seventh-grader, Jessica Letrich.
Letrich is excited for school to start. "I like school," she said, adding that her favorite subject, besides recess and lunch, is science.
Jordan Avery, an incoming Payson High School junior, decided to forgo electives and cram enough requirements into the next school year to graduate next summer.
"I'm kinda nervous because this is my last year," Avery said. She wants to study photography at Northern Arizona University or University of California, Berkeley.
Kathy Neblett brought her grandkids, who live in the Valley, to the pool Monday. She wanted to "give them a little fun before they go back to school."
Rim Country schools start Wednesday.
The various ongoing school construction projects impart a new key word for the year: flexibility.
"Flexibility and patience are the operative words," said Superintendent Casey O'Brien.
At Rim Country Middle School, part of the new drop-off is finished.
"That's the good news," O'Brien said. With much of the campus fenced off due to construction, mobility could be impacted.
A spring break move-in date is expected at the new Julia Randall Elementary School. "Moving is always stressful. For teachers, its no less, even though we have professional movers," O'Brien said.
New programs include the high school vocational program Education Professions taught by Dean Pederson. Additional advanced placement classes include government and two calculus sections.
"A lot of districts our size don't have a calculus (class) period," O'Brien said. College algebra and a dual enrollment American Sign Language class that community college students can also take have been added.
"We're fully staffed with teachers in contract positions which is a great thing that's not easily accomplished," O'Brien said.
The pending Summer Olympics have third grade Payson Elementary School teacher Laurie Pfarr planning curriculum around the event.
Her students will learn about China and the different Olympic games.
For parents wondering why their students are requested to bring in old socks, Pfarr said they're for clearing dry erase boards.
Those with education news, story tips or ideas are encouraged to contact education reporter Suzanne Jacobson at (928) 474-5251, ext. 116 or e-mail to suzannejacobson@