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615 students opt for Great Valley Academy
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Great Valley Academy in Manteca will welcome 615 students when it opens its classrooms on Aug. 19, the first day of school for the 2013-14 school year.

Considering this is only the third year the public charter school has been in existence – at least, for the Manteca satellite of the Modesto-based institution – the size of the enrollment is something that continues to impress everyone. Except, perhaps, the parents of the more than 300 students who are on the waiting list. All K-8 classes were filled up quickly early this summer.

“We’ve surpassed our expectations,” said Russell Howell who has been principal since the school opened two years ago. The overwhelming support the school has received from day one likewise “far surpassed” expectations, he added.

“It really comes down to the people that have invested in the school – amazing teachers, parents and students. Working together, there’s little we can’t accomplish,” Howell said.

The school opens the new school year with 25 teachers. Howell said they add teachers every year as the school grows.

To get ready for the first day of school, Great Valley Academy will have a back-to-school night event for its students and their families on Friday, Aug. 16, starting at 6:30 p.m. The event will give students, especially the new ones, as well as their parents the opportunity to visit the classrooms, meet teachers and staff “and get comfortable” so the students can come in on the first day school with less anxieties, Howell said.

The evening will include an ice cream social as well, he said.

Great Valley Academy is located at the former Manteca Christian School on Button Avenue.