FREWSBURG - It was a fresh start for students and staff of Frewsburg Central School as the district hosted its first day of classes for the 2013-14 academic year.
On Tuesday, classrooms and hallways were brimming with activity as students at Robert H. Jackson Elementary School began adjusting to another year of classes. According to Danielle O'Connor, Frewsburg superintendent, the district experienced a successful commencement of its school year.
"Both buildings had a nice, smooth and happy opening day," O'Connor said. "Students were all in their classrooms and the hallways were orderly and quiet. And I attribute that to the hard work and the organizational skills of our building leaders.
"And it was good to see all of the children this morning," she added. "It's very lonely here during the summer without children in the building, so it was good to see the kids and teachers back in school."
Danielle Patti, principal of Robert H. Jackson Elementary, said the first day of classes is always a joyous occasion.
"We always like this time of year, everything looks so nice," Patti said. "The floors are shiny and the children are excited. Everyone has their new backpacks and gym shoes on."
In addition to students and teachers, the Common Core Learning Standards are also officially starting up in area schools this week. While certain areas of curriculum will remain the same, Patti said there is a new addition to the district's elementary school curriculum to accommodate the standards,
"What is different to the schedule this year is that we've built in these 'intervention blocks,' which is a 30-minute period every day for ELA and math," Patti said. "Traditionally, we've called that Academic Intervention Services, but that really allows us to tailor that time for every student."
Patti said the intervention blocks are intended to address the individual needs of students in regard to preparing them for next year's ELA and math exams, which are based on the Common Core curriculum. As in recent years, the students will also be receiving regular blocks of ELA and math instruction, with integrated science and social studies, on a daily basis. Patti said 90 minutes will designated for ELA instruction, and 60 minutes for math in addition to the intervention blocks.
The new school year also provided an opportunity to showcase upgrades to the building, which were completed through a capital project that took place during the summer months. The most prominent features of the project are a roof replacement and the reconfiguration of the building's parking lot, which now includes a parent drop-off loop.
Although parental adjustments to the new configuration were expected, Patti said the first day's traffic flow was as smooth as could be expected.
"Today was the biggest test (for the new layout)," she said. "It could've been a disaster if people would have pulled in to drop off their children like they've always been accustomed to. But we sent a letter home, we did a GlobalConnect and we talked to the parents about it during the kindergarten and UPK open house. So, that cascading information really makes a big difference."
O'Connor said the reconfiguration has served its purpose thus far, as she observed less traffic on Ivory Street during the drop-off period.