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Southern Vermont Schools OpenBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Southern Vermont schools opened their doors for the 2006-07 academic year on Aug. 30 and at least two elementary schools hosted ice-breaking celebratory events.
|Stamford school student Kaitlynn Karo, 8, and her mom Dawn Karo at the school's opening day.|
First Day Excitement At Stamford School
At the Stamford elementary school, Principal Beth Keplinger was welcoming students and explaining new rules such as a visitors sign-in book and a change in student entrance points. Keplinger was hired in June to fill the post left vacant after the February death of long-time school Principal Leo Ethier.
While she's been at the school and on the job for several weeks, Keplinger said she was excited about meeting the student population and beginning the new school year.
"I'm excited," she said. "I woke up once in the middle of the night just like I did when I was a student and looking forward to the first day of school."
Stamford school Principal Beth Keplinger
"I Am Ready."
The student population is well below 100 students- the entire school hosts about 73 pupils and kindergarten teacher Judy Spencer expects to teach six part-time pupils this year- but certain "first day" traditions, such as kindergarten jitters and parents accompanying their children to school were in place as the school busses rolled into the driveway.
Dawn Karo brought her daughter, eight-year-old second-grade student Kaitlynn Karo, and Nancy Dargie, whose daughter Megan and son Alex are upper-grade level students, accompanied her children to school.
When asked if she was ready to put summer vacation behind and get down to the business of learning, Kaitlynn said "I am ready."
The students were treated to an outdoor breakfast of muffins and juice courtesy of the school's parent-teacher group. Teachers stood by at the food and beverage tables and welcomed returning students by name.
By 9 a.m., all that was visible of the students were their backs and backpacks as they were routed to classrooms and seating assignments, and separated from those lazy summer days.
Robert Costine, Anna Butcher, and twins Madison and Dalton Tatro are four of the six Stamford school kindergarten students.
First Day Celebration At Pownal
At the Pownal elementary school, Principal Joan Paustian and Board of School Directors Chairwoman Cynthia Brownell stood amidst a balloon bouquet and welcomed students to the pre-k through grade six school.
The school hosts about 245 students and the full-time incoming kindergarten class totals 37 students, Paustian said.
Pownal kindergarten has operated as a full-day session for about five years, she said.
"The full-day kindergarten has increased our ability to work more academic areas," she said. "We are better able to focus on the academics, and we expect our kindergarten students to be reading when they leave kindergarten."
Pownal school Principal Joan Paustian
Pownal participates in "First Day" celebrations, which were launched throughout the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union in 1998. The events are designed to include parents in first day of school festivities and allows them opportunities to meet teachers and hear first-hand about expectations and rules while welcoming a new academic year in the company of their children.
Entertainment is often part of the celebration and for the second year, the Pownal school welcomed Banjo Dan and The Mid-Nite Plowboys to the gymnasium for musical hilarity. Students, parents and teachers applauded enthusiastically for the group's morning performance.
Banjo Dan and the Mid-Nite Plowboys entertained during Pownal school's "First Day" celebration.
"This works well for our school," Paustian said. "It gives the parents a chance to participate in the student's first day and get an idea of expectations."
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-823-9367.