The 2007-2008 school year is only two weeks old but, officials say, so far, so good.

"In my conversations with principals and my conversations with support staff," Mark McKinney, interim superintendent for the Hesperia Unified School District said Friday, "It's been one of our smoothest launches in a long, long time."

This year, the HUSD will be teaching approximately 22,000 students, but despite crowded schools while students, teachers and staff wait on new schools to open, things have been going well.

"If you look at Hesperia High School, with a population of 3,400-plus, they were all in class within 45 minutes [of the first day of school beginning], which is just awesome," McKinney said.

Currently enrollment is about 600 kids behind the expected number, but it's too soon to tell if that will hold true the rest of the year.

"We track class sizes, we track enrollment every day. We do that every day through Labor Day weekend. Pretty much after that, the dust has settled," McKinney said. "We can then rebalance class sizes and such.

"That's not to say we don't have some sites that are full. They're full."

Among the schools operating with fewer than expected students -- at least for the moment -- is the district's newest, Cedar Middle School.

"It's busy but it's a good busy. Can't complain," Principal Dave Olney said Friday. "I've been in administration in 13 years, and I have to tell you ... this is probably the smoothest opening I've ever had."

There are only about 550 Cedar Spartans at the moment, all of them 7th graders for the school's first year. And construction continues around them, with the new students making due with a temporary cafeteria and other temporary solutions until the school is fully complete.

"I've got a great staff," Olney laughed. "This is the second new school I've opened, and you don't realize how much goes into opening a new school until you open everything."

The school's main building is opening later this fall, along with more classrooms, art classrooms and a home economics room. The school's gymnasium and cafeteria are expected to open in the spring. In the meantime, the Spartans eat in a temporary cafeteria made out of several classrooms without interior walls separating them into individual rooms.

"Obviously, the best case would be to have the cafeteria and gym already open, but the staff has been doing a great job with the facilities we do have and the kids are doing great," Olney said. "If you drive by, 'is that school open' is probably going through a lot of people's minds. ... [But] I have not heard a parent complaint, other than 'is the school going to be open' as we prepared to open up."

The interim superintendent praised the Cedar Middle School staff for getting the school ready to open on time.

"Not to say it wasn't done with a lot of hard hours and after-hours work," McKinney said, "But that's the kind of folks we have working for us."

The school year hasn't all gone perfectly, of course. There have been "a few glitches" with buses and other transportation issues, he said.

Although it's a long way until the end of the school year next summer, McKiinney is pleased with how the 2007-2008 school year has gone so far.

"That's a credit to our staff. Staff at our school sites, staff at our support sites," McKinney said. "I think everything just clicked."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.