Schools open for 2013-2014 term today|
|The class bell rang for students in public and parochial schools across the northwoods this morning, with sunny skies and overwhelming enthusiasm reported across the region.|
Dr. Don Childs, interim administrator for the Antigo school district, spent the morning hours traveling from school to school and said he was encouraged with what he saw.
“The first day is going exceptionally well,” he said. “There’s a great enthusiasm level among the students, teachers and staff. Everyone is really upbeat.”
With a projected opening day enrollment of about 2,440 students sprawled across seven elementary schools plus the Middle School and high school, there are plenty of opportunities for opening-day jitters and glitches, but none were reported.
Dr. Janene Beck-Hafner, Antigo’s director of pupil services, said she spent the morning at the Middle School, where students make a sometimes-tough transition from cozy elementary schools with one teacher and one classroom toward the multi-teacher, multi-room setup.
“It seemed to all go well,” she said. “There is always a lot of anticipation and some trepidation, but we had lots of adults there willing to help. Even the custodians were helping the new students find their way around.”
At Elcho, with a projected enrollment of about 380 students, Elementary Principal Betsy Gruszynski said the students and staff were dealing with a variety of changes well.
“The younger children are coming in with hugs and are so excited,” the principal said. “We’re happy to have them back.”
Elcho installed new security doors at the main entrance, which means parents must be buzzed in during the school day, and has undertaken other measures as well to ensure a safe learning environment.
The district is also welcoming nine new teachers, about a quarter of its staff, and they are bringing a high level of energy and enthusiasm,” Gruszynski said.
“It’s going well,” she reported. “It seems like we never left.”
White Lake, with about 200 students, opened the day with a grade six through 12 assembly and kickoff for the positive student behavior program.
“The students came in smiling and we met them at the door,” Principal Glenda Butterfield-Boldig said.
The six new staff members were also introduced.
“The students all clapped and cheered the new staff,” Butterfield-Boldig said. “That was nice.”
White Lake also has some changes as the year opens. For the first time, juniors and seniors who maintain a B average, have good attendance and no behavioral issues are allowed open campus during the lunch period.
“We’re going to have a great year,” she said.
Back at Antigo, Childs said that all the elements are in place for an outstanding school term.
“It’s a great district and the people are terrific,” he said.
Public schools opened across the state today, a uniform post-Labor Day start that is mandated by state statute as a way to stretch the summer tourism season through the long weekend.
In Madison, Gov. Scott Walker joined State Superintendent Tony Evers and local officials in welcoming students to their first day of school. The group rang school bells on the walk to Garland Elementary School to celebrate the beginning of the 2013–2014 school year.
“The first day of school is always exciting,” Walker said. “Transforming education remains a top priority for us because every child deserves access to a great education, and it’s great to see students ready to jump into the classroom and learn as much as they can.”
Antigo Interim Administrator Dr. Don Childs welcomes Crysta Alloway to her first day as a second grader at Pleasant View School this morning. Principal Scott Farmer is also shown welcoming students.
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