Children that headed back to school on Wednesday had to get back into the routine as they transition from summer days to school days.
“On the first day, it’s important to establish a sense of belonging to each other,” said Sylvia Lowell, a fifth-grade teacher at Herkimer Elementary School. “So they know they have their place here. We’re going to be together for the next 10 months.”
Lowell said much of the first day is also about getting into routines, and having a chance to get to know her new students. She had her students work on a name acrostic on their first day, where they think of positive character traits that spell out their name, as a way for her to get to know them. For example, Kiera had “kind, interesting, energetic, responsible and adorable.”
Lowell also dispelled the myth that children generally hate going back to school.
“By and large, kids are very excited to get back to school,” she said. “[They’re] very happy to get back and to see their friends.”
“I was feeling kind of nervous, but now I feel fine,” said Rebecca Hyney, a fifth-grader at Benton Hall Academy in Little Falls near the end of her first day back to school. “Everyone is super nice.”
“I was feeling really nervous and stressful in the morning, but now I’m not nervous any more,” said Claire Petkovsek, Hyney’s classmate.
Josh Petrie, who is also in the same class, said about returning to school that, “I’m happy to meet my friends.”
Rick Hartman, who has been a long-term substitute at Benton Hall, started his first day as a full-time fifth grade teacher on Wednesday for a class of 24 that includes Hyney, Petkovsek and Petrie. He said already knowing the staff helped him transition to full-time, and two former fifth-grade teachers at Benton Hall who still work at the building have been able to help him out.
“There were some things where ‘I didn’t think of this’ or ‘I didn’t think of that,’ but it is overall going smoothly,” said Hartman.
“Everything is going very well,” said Benton Hall Academy Principal Joseph Long about the first day of school. “We’ve had a great opening thanks to the kids, families and staff.”
Long added, “We were busy when we started, but we soon got everyone to where they need to be.”
Kathleen Carney, principal at Herkimer Elementary School, said things were going smoothly on their end, too, with the start of school on Wednesday. She noted the school does have several new staff members, including four new classroom teachers, a new school nurse and five new teacher’s aides, along with a new assistant principal.
Page 2 of 2 - “The new staff has been busy working over the summer, getting their classrooms set and working with the veteran staff, to ensure a smooth transition,” said Carney.
The Herkimer and Little Falls school districts were among those that opened their doors Wednesday to begin the school year.
Two school districts that are starting today are the newly merged Central Valley Central School District, which combines the former Ilion and Mohawk school districts, and the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District.