Back to school: Butler Tech, Middletown students resume classes

Area high schoolers traveled on buses and in cars at sunrise Thursday as Butler Tech’s campuses across the county opened for the new school year.

One of the busiest of the career school’s Butler County campuses was the D. Russel Lee complex in Fairfield Twp. where excited students from the county’s 10 public school systems — along with Northwest Schools in northern Hamilton County — poured off of school buses.

Among them was senior Preston Barnes, from Fairfield High School, is in Butler Tech’s Aviation Exploration Program.

“I’m really excited and I’m really excited for the opportunities coming this school year,” said Barnes.

“I’m getting my new job at Butler County Regional Airport because of the new program there but I’m also excited to be back with my instructor and classmates,” said Barnes, who hopes in the future to become an airline pilot.

Also opening Thursday was Middletown Schools with about half of its 6,300 students starting the new school year as the district, like some others in recent years, has adopted a staggered start schedule that sees students in first half of the alphabet, according to their last names.

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Middletown Schools officials said the opening morning for its 10 schools went smoothly. Friday will see the second half of the city school’s enrollment come to school for their opening day and then on Monday all students will begin attending classes together.

Most other Butler and Warren County public and private schools are scheduled to open next week or later in the month.

The 2022-2023 school year is the fourth consecutive year where part or all the school calendar has been conducted under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, though area school officials are optimistic this school year will be minimally impacted compared to previous years.

Butler Tech officials said a number of new programs are coming or expanding this school year for the career school system’s 1,600 high school students on four campuses.

And in October, a much-anticipated expansion of Butler Tech’s Monroe campus, where students learn a number of career skills in natural sciences and animal care, is scheduled to increase and modernize classrooms.

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A.J. Huff, spokeswoman for Butler Tech, said the first day of every school year is a special time and the initial morning a busy one as the Fairfield Twp. campus is the main bus hub for many students, who then are driven out to their specific school campus in Monroe or West Chester Twp. if their classes are not at D. Russel Lee.

“The seniors are excited to get back and get into their labs and get back to working and the juniors and sophomores are just trying to figure things out because this is all brand new for them,” said Huff.

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