12 things you need to know as 42,000 Lexington kids go back to school

What can students expect at Lexington's new Frederick Douglass High?

Frederick Douglass high school principal Lester Diaz gives remarks on the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new high school on Winchester Road, and talks about what the school will offer its incoming students.
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Frederick Douglass high school principal Lester Diaz gives remarks on the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new high school on Winchester Road, and talks about what the school will offer its incoming students.

Roughly 42,000 students will be headed back to school campuses throughout Lexington on Wednesday.

Here’s a quick list of important things to know as the city goes back to school.

▪ Have a question on the first day? Fayette County Public Schools has a new website at It has a variety of information for students, families and the community. Look under the Families tab for information commonly requested by families. Just below the photos are a set of quick links. School supply lists are located on the home page for each school. If you have additional questions, call the district Central Office at (859) 381-4100, but officials are asking for your patience. The district receptionist normally receives an average of 1,800 calls a day this time of year.

▪ What time is the bell? The majority of elementary schools begin each day at 7:45 a.m. Cassidy, Harrison, Mary Todd and Northern begin at 8:25 a.m.; Middle schools begin at 9:05 a.m.; High schools begin at 8:25 a.m.

▪ What’s the new high school like? Lexington’s brand new, $82 million Frederick Douglass High School, Fayette County’s sixth general high school, opens for the first time Wednesday at 2000 Winchester Road. Visit the campus and take a video tour.

▪ Where’d Channel 13 go? Fayette County Public Schools’ television programming FCPS-TV, which had broadcast locally on Channel 13 since 1981, can now be found on Channel 197 in Spectrum’s cable service. Programming is also streamed live on the district website.

Lester Diaz, principal of the new Frederick Douglass high school off of Winchester road, explains much of the school amenities and what it will offer for incoming students for this Fall.

▪ How did my kid do on that test? Like to keep track of your child’s assignments, grades and more? The web address has changed for the district Infinite Campus Parent/Student Portal. The new URL:

▪ Ready for a day off already? Fayette County Public Schools officials have canceled classes on Aug. 21, the day North America will experience a total solar eclipse. Oct. 27, which initially was a scheduled day off, will be a regular school day.

▪ Which school does my child attend? Where do they catch the bus? New middle and high school attendance zones are being implemented in 2017-18 with the opening of the new high school. To find the school a student is assigned to go to To find a bus route go to

▪ Are any schools over capacity? Because Athens-Chilesburg Elementary has reached enrollment capacity, effective Aug. 7, all new enrollees in the ACE zone are directed to enroll at Squires Elementary instead. Bus transportation will be provided.

▪ Running a bit behind? Registration for all schools is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays through the first day of school, Aug. 16. To enroll a new student in grades K-12, families can begin the process online at Families can also go to the school their neighborhood is assigned to and fill out a registration packet.

▪ Please watch for kids and buses. Be mindful of increased school traffic on Wednesday, and be patient. District officials ask that drivers stop for school buses.

▪ Ready for kindergarten? Under state law, age requirements for kindergarten have changed in 2017-18. Students must now be 5 by Aug. 1 to start kindergarten. Parents can apply for early entry under certain conditions online at The district’s early start preschool program has a different opening day than the rest of the district. Classes for children eligible for preschool begins Aug. 23 and 24.

▪ Fill their bellies, fill their minds. Students who formerly were eligible for reduced price meals will receive free school meals in 2017-18. Reduced priced meals have been eliminated.

Penny Hisel-Church talks about the preparation of the cafeteria and how excited she is for students to be back.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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