By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Back to class for local students
Denair, Hilmar, Hughson start school year; Turlock campuses prepare for return
Hilmar first week of school
Elim Elementary School in Hilmar celebrates the end of their first week of school with a special appearance by Buzz the Bee (Photo contributed).

The 2023-2024 school year is here for local school districts. As many are prepared to welcome students back this coming week, there have been a handful of local districts who have already opened the classroom doors and have begun learning.

The three local school districts that have already gotten their years underway are Denair Unified, Hilmar Unified and Hughson Unified. Meanwhile, Turlock Unified and Turlock Christian will get things started on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Students arriving at Hilmar and Hughson school may have recognized some big changes on their campuses.

In Hilmar, students and their families will be saving some more money this year as the district announced that all students will be served breakfast and lunch at no charge under the Universal Meals Program, thanks to an amendment to the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs policy. It’s a similar amendment made by Turlock Unified last year, which will continue into the current school year. Nevertheless, Free & Reduced Applications still need to be filled out and turned in. These forms, which were sent to Hilmar families, help with district funding.

Hughson back to school
Hughson Elementary students pose for a first day of school picture on Thursday (Photo contributed).

Over in Hughson, plenty of areas across different school sites have received facelifts. Hughson High had a major remodel to the front office and parking lot, adding an additional 25 parking spaces. Fences were also added around the perimeter of the school to provide a secure

entrance into the interior of the campus. At Ross Middle School, locker rooms have new paint, lockers and benches. There is also a brand new building at Hughson Elementary towards the back of the campus, which is the new home to the after-school program.

New parking lots and paved roads are also new around Turlock. Osborn Two Way Immersion Academy will put their new parking to use, while the latest bus routes have been updates to accommodate for any roadwork or construction near schools. The latest bus routes for TUSD can be found at

Turlock Unified will also be transitioning to the ParentSquare software for school communication, primarily with email, text and app notifications. ParentSquare automatically generates an account for each parent, using their preferred email address and phone number. Parents are encouraged to access their accounts so they can download the mobile app and update their preferences on when and how they are notified of any school news.

Denair back to school
Denair Unified School District started their school year this past week (Photo contributed).

Denair Unified is joining Turlock in making a software switch. This year, DUSD is making the jump to Aeries, which is a website and app where parents can track student assignments, see grades and get information from their student's teacher and school. For those who haven’t registered yet, head to