Back in their backpacks
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Sep 4, 2013, 15:09
BRIAN CAPALDO/HOPEWELL PUBLIC SCHOOLS A teacher at Harry E. James Elementary School in Hopewell answers questions from young students.
Students all over the Tri-Cities put on their new backpacks, filled with notebooks, pens and pencils, and headed to school on Tuesday morning, ready to begin the new school year.
Cyan Seibel, 10, a fifth-grader at Dupont Elementary School in Hopewell, sat in the lunchroom on Tuesday, laughing with her friends and looking forward to the new school year.
“It’s going good,” Seibel said of her first day back. “It’s good to see my friends again.”
For Hopewell students, Tuesday not only marked the beginning of a new school year, but a beginning to a new school schedule. Earlier in the year, before the previous school year had concluded, the Hopewell School Board voted and approved to add an additional 20 minutes onto the school day.
When the proposal was presented to the School Board in March, Dr. Kim Evans, assistant superintendent for instruction, said that the new start and end times of all the schools in division reflect what research shows are optimal times to provide instruction to students.
“If you research instructional time there is a correlation between the time spent in instruction and student performance,” Evans said in March. “But those of us who live it everyday will tell you, you can have all the time that you want, you need to make sure that it is being used effectively.”
Superintendent Dr. John Fahey said in a statement that although there were a few problems that were encountered that morning due to the change in bus routes to accommodate the new schedule, he was still excited to welcome back students.
“I am proud to say that the opening of our schools went very smoothly this morning. We changed many of our bus routes to accommodate our slightly longer school day this year and had very few problems as a result. Our students are happy to be back and we are excited to welcome them,” Fahey said.
BRIAN CAPALDO/HOPEWELL PUBLIC SCHOOLS Students at Harry E. James Elementary School in Hopewell hold hands on the first day of school.
Meziah Scott, 10, a fifth-grader at Dupont Elementary said that though the extra 20 minutes onto his school day was “kind of weird,” he thinks it will turn out to be helpful.
“It’s better because we get to learn more stuff,” Scott said. “And we get to do more.”
Scott, who added that math was his favorite subject because he liked that it was difficult and challenged him, also said Tuesday brought about a mix of different emotions as it was his last, first day at elementary school.
“It kind of feels sad and happy at the same time,” Scott said. “I’m going to miss it.”