FONTANA, CA – Smiling faces, colorful decorations, and lively celebrations were plentiful across Fontana Unified School District’s campuses on Aug. 3, as students eagerly returned for the first day of the 2023-24 school year.

Sequoia Middle School welcomed students with an arch of red, black and white balloons, while student leaders from Associated Student Body and Where Everybody Belongs clapped and cheered as their classmates arrived. In the quad, a Sequoia teacher donned a Lucha Libre mask and, as DJ Mascaras, spun records and entertained everyone on campus before the first class of the day.

“The first day of school is very exciting, but also a little scary for new students. We want to make sure every student feels welcome and ready to learn,” Sequoia Principal Dr. Monica Young said. “We’re looking forward to a great year.”

About three miles away, Henry J. Kaiser High School leadership students donned shirts with this year’s theme “This is the Way,” inspired by the TV show “The Mandalorian,” as they handed out smiles, greetings and donuts to start the year. Students gathered in the quad to reunite with old friends and take selfies, while others beamed with excitement on their “last first day” of high school.

There was a different kind of excitement in the air for the youngest Fontana Unified students; at Live Oak Elementary School, Jasmine Lopez arrived with her son Joseph, who was wearing a “First Day of Kindergarten” T-shirt and a Spider-Man backpack. Lopez said that Joseph was a little shy but eager to begin school.

“He’s nervous,” Lopez said. “But he’s looking forward to going to class so he can learn and make new friends.”

The first day of the 2023-24 school year continues a series of transformations in Fontana Unified. The District appointed 15 dynamic new leaders over the summer, including nine new school principals, in alignment with the priorities Superintendent Miki R. Inbody heard from the community during her Reconnecting Campaign.

Fontana Unified will also unveil its highly anticipated Innovation Empire this school year. The center, which is open to all District students and staff, is designed to educate and empower a new generation of STEM learners by encouraging them to push their creative boundaries and channel their entrepreneurial spirit.

Innovation Empire is a two-building complex that includes a collaborative space that will be used as a think tank for students, and a Makerspace stock with a fleet of state-of-the-art high-tech equipment.

“Each new school year brings with it a sense of promise, and there are so many reasons for optimism in Fontana Unified in 2023-24. As we evolve, our commitment as a District remains the same,” Inbody said. “We are dedicated to empowering our students to become future leaders and innovators by equipping them with the tools and resources they need to achieve their full potential.”


FUSD_FIRSTDAY1: (From left to right) Almond Elementary School students Damien Valdez, Devain Valdez, and Ayden Valdez celebrate the first day of school in Fontana Unified on Aug. 3.

FUSD_FIRSTDAY2: Kaiser High School students show their school pride on the first day of the 2023-24 school year.

FUSD_FIRSTDAY3: A.B. Miller High School staff greet students with “Welcome Back” signs, fist bumps and well wishes for the 2023-24 school year on Aug. 3.