Thoughts and images from the first days back at school

7 Sep

Well, we made it to the end of the first week back at school, and from all accounts that I heard, it started out pretty good.

I invited people to send me stories and photos from opening day, and I received several heartwarming messages and super cute photos. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to email me. I’m pleased now to share those emails with you all.

Three brothers together 

Moorman

Ryan, Nolan and Brendan Moorman

Alicia Moorman was pleased as punch to report that all three of her boys are now in the same school, Plank Road North Elementary. Ryan is in 5th grade, Brendan is in 3rd, and 4-year old Nolan just started preschool.

This is the only year they’ll be together before Ryan heads off to middle school next year. “Ryan and Brendan were happy to be back with their friends,” Alicia wrote. “And Nolan was excited to be going to his big brother’s school and meet his new friends.”

Reconnecting with favorite teachers 

This nice story also comes from Plank Road North. Laura Simmons wrote that her daughter Harleigh was “excited and ready to go” for her first day.

Harleigh Simmons

Harleigh Simmons

She moved up to 5th grade with her teacher (Mr Crowley) and most classmates and said it was great to start out knowing her teacher and friends.

When we had out evening mommy/daughter chat before bed she was full of news about one of her favorite teachers who teaches music at Plank North. News about her cats and how she has been learning how to operate the pump controls on the firetruck. That she was the only girl driver… She is all about girl power and I loved that Harleigh has such a role model to reiterate that girls/women can do anything! Now I have a little girl who wants to be a fireman like her teacher and her Papa.

An encouraging note on a scary day

Yaravitz

Hannah Yaravitz

This was one of my favorite emails. It’s from Tara Yaravitz, who told me about an extra special teacher at Klem South Elementary and what she did for her former students, including her daughter Hannah.

At the end of last school year, fifth grade teacher Meghann Piwko bid goodbye her students, who were moving on to Willink Middle School. But she wasn’t going to let them start the new year without one last boost of encouragement. Tara described what happened that morning.

“My daughter started sixth grade today and received a letter in homeroom this a.m. from her fifth-grade teacher from last year encouraging her, still teaching her life skills, and building confidence in her.”

Piwko had written a personal letter to each one of her former students, delivered them to Willink, and made sure they were awaiting the new sixth graders in homeroom Tuesday morning.

Tara was clearly touched by the teacher’s thoughtfulness.

“I think it’s such a lovely idea and gives (the students) a sense of comfort on a day that is full of anxiousness and worry and fear of the unknown. …  As a parent I think that’s so special and truly shows how much her teacher cares about her and her other classmates from last year.”

New to kindergarten? No problem!

Arya 2

Anya Orr with her family

Proud grandma Rebecca Parzynski sent this photo of her granddaughter Anya Orr, who’s all smiles as she poses with her dad Joshua, mom Melissa and little sister Teagan.

Anya started kindergarten this week at State Road Elementary School. Rebecca reported that Anya “was nervous, but had a great day.”

New school, new friends

Samantha Privitera sent along this photo of her daughter Lilli on her first day of school in second grade at Schlegel Road Elementary. It

Lilli1 (1)

Lilli Privitera

was a brand new school for Lilli, who had just transferred over from Plank North.

Looks like she was pretty excited to start the year, and since I work right across the hall from her classroom at Schlegel, I can attest that it was a good day!

It was a red carpet morning

All the students at Schlegel Road Elementary started the day on a high note, actually. They received a royal welcome when they filed off their buses Tuesday morning.

IMG_20180904_090736484

Red carpet treatment at Schlegel

A red carpet had been set up stretching from the curb to the school’s front door, lined by all of Schlegel’s administrators, staff and faculty members, who were holding balloons, clapping noisemakers and cheering loudly.

It was the first day of school for staff, too! 

I was reminded of that a few times as I was putting together this feature. Matter of fact, one of the first emails I received made that point for me right away. Shannon Peterson wrote,

“I’m a secretary at DeWitt (Elementary) and was excited to see the kids and parents today. The first day of school

Shannon Peterson

Shannon Peterson and Lillian Bradbury

is just as exciting for us in the offices. Some students were excited to wave to me in the hall, some were excited to show me how tall they grew, their special outfit for today or just to say hello.”

She snapped a photo of one of those students, Lillian Bradbury. “She delivered a hug to me and made my day!” Shannon added.

And over at Plank North — the second of the two schools I work at — Principal Craig Bodensteiner and Assistant Principal Heather Balsamo made sure that the schools’ staff members also felt special. To show how much they love their teachers, and how much they were missed over the summer, Crag and Heather gave each one an “all star teacher” t-shirt.

On the Monday night before school my colleague Susan Padgham had this to say about the family that is Plank North:

“I work with some amazing teachers and who genuinely care for their students’ well-being, along with academics. Their tireless perseverance shows daily. Tomorrow we will all be united in wearing our green & gold school colors along with the quote ‘I am the difference.’ Another reason to be PROUD to be a Plank North Pioneer!”

Here’s the staff photo we took that morning:

Plank N staffSubstitutes unite

 

Lest we forget that we have some outstanding substitute teachers in our district, I received this message from one of my favorites, Pat Clemens-Sweetland, who told me what she did on day 1:

“Some retired teachers and substitute teachers that haven’t been called yet celebrated by meeting for breakfast!” she reported. “T’s seemed to be the ‘place to be'”!

Finally, a shout out to our hard-working school PTSAs. These dedicated volunteers took some time out on Labor Day to go around to several of the schools and create some inspirational chalk art to welcome the kids back. Here are a few examples:

And a quick reminder from the PTSA that calendars are now available at Hegedorn’s as well as at school events. The handsome publications are just $5 each and have all the important district events so you’ll never miss out.

Plus your $5 helps support our schools.

* * *

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One Response to “Thoughts and images from the first days back at school”

  1. Pat Sweetland September 7, 2018 at 9:21 am #

    And, we are lucky to have you! 🙂

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