September 8 marks the first day of school for students on the traditional calendar

Over the course of the next nine and a half months, there will be essay questions, reading assignments, science projects and word problems. There will also be field trips, football games, high school dances and, ultimately, commencement exercises.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Tomorrow, after all, is just the first day of school for IUSD students on the traditional calendar, and to those who will be returning we say, “Welcome back!” — or “Welcome!” if you’re new to the district.

Because the morning routines will seem a little less familiar either way, families with younger children may want to get an earlier start tomorrow morning, and local motorists are advised to be patient and practice extra vigilance to ensure Irvine’s streets are safe for pedestrians.

Most of those pedestrians will return to campuses that haven’t changed too much, but that’s not the case for those heading to Woodbridge High School and Deerfield Elementary School, which have each benefited from major modernization and expansion projects.

In fact, Deerfield will welcome back students after being out of commission for more than a year. The former El Camino Real Elementary site served as temporary housing for Deerfield students while their campus was completely overhauled with new structures, new landscaping and brand new interior walls in the campus’ main building, effectively ending the open floor-plan era that had been around since the 1970s. (To read a recent Orange County Register story about Deerfield’s transformation, click here.)

As always, you can learn more about your own school through its website, which can be accessed by clicking here. To check out the district’s calendar for the 2011-12 school year, click here.