South Bay students head back to class; safety a top concern

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Several Bay Area school districts started the new school year Wednesday, including the largest district in the South Bay, and student safety has been a top concern.

The San Jose Unified School District has about 33,000 students at 42 different schools, including Willow Glen School. Children there started their new school year with a lot of excitement and a little bit of anxiety.

Getting to class on the first day of school may be the most difficult part of the day. But for the 800 or so students at Willow Glen, there are a handful of people watching out for them, including crossing guard Dora Shapiro.

"I've been here a long time and they know me and when I put my hand up that means stop," Shapiro said.

A stretch of Minnesota Avenue became a school zone Wednesday morning, meaning the speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour when children are present.

San Jose police officer Robert Pasquale is on the lookout for people speeding. He estimated he hands out about seven speeding tickets an hour.

Transitional kindergarten student Addison Polanowski and her older sister Lauren were walked to class Wednesday by their mother Kristen Polanowki. It's Addison's first day at her new school and her mother gave her and sister some advice.

"Have fun, enjoy," Kristen Polanowski said. "Get to know your new teacher. Get to know all the kids in your class and just get ready to learn."

The president of the PTA says students and teachers are more ready for the Common Core curriculum this year.

This is the second year of the program at Willow Glen school, but not everyone's favorite subject is inside the classroom.

"I'm most excited about recess," Lauren Polanowski said.
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