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2011-12 School Year Begins



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2011-12 School Year Begins

By Eliza Hallabeck

Just hours after the 2011-12 school year began on Tuesday, September 6, officials around the district reported students seemed eager to start the school year. The arrival of Tropical Storm Irene on August 28, and the resulting cleanup efforts and power outages, led to the first day of the school year being postponed a week from its original August 30 start date.

As Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson posted on the school district’s recently renovated website (www.newtown.k12.ct.us): “The start of the 2011-12 school year may have been delayed, but it is now off to its exciting start.”

Overall, Dr Robinson said, the first day of school went “really well.”

There was a small glitch at Sandy Hook School, according to Dr Robinson, when the power went out around 3 am Tuesday, but Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) had power restored by 8:20 am, before students arrived for the start of the school day. Dr Robinson said there was no explanation for why the power went out at the school. She also said power went out again at 3:20 pm, but the end of the school day was not effected.

“Hopefully CL&P will find the problem and get it back up again,” Dr Robinson said.

At Newtown Middle School, Dr Robinson said, the cafeteria was open for students after new skylights were put in as part of the school’s roof project. Some work on the project remains to be completed, but Dr Robinson said it can be accomplished after school is released. Work on that project will not be ongoing during the school day.

“We were very impressed when we walked through on Friday,” Dr Robinson said of the NMS roof project.

NMS Principal Diane Sherlock said her school remained dry thanks to its new roof.

“We welcomed 879 faces today,” said Ms Sherlock, “and we are excited and grateful to be back in school!”

The best thing for Dr Robinson every year, she said, is seeing the smiling faces of kindergarteners beginning their time in the district.

To all of Newtown’s students, Dr Robinson recommended if they are ever uncertain about anything, “never hesitate to ask your teacher.”

 “I think everyone is so happy to be in school,” said Dr Robinson. “It seems everyone is just happy to be back.”

At Newtown High School, Principal Charles Dumais said the first day was great.

“I think that many people felt like we had a false start last week,” Mr Dumais said, “and we are very happy to get started.”

Hawley Elementary School Principal Jo-Ann Peters-Edmondson said her school “opened its doors today to excited and eager students and staff.”

“Our new family orientation and student walk-through had been canceled because of power outages; however, even without our annual new family orientation and school visit, the day before school starts, our opening was smooth,” she said. “The preparation by office staff, teachers, and our PTA contributed to our successful first day.”

Ms Peters-Edmondson also said her school has a few traditions for the start of a new school year.

“During the first week of school it is our tradition for Hawley staff to greet students as they exit the bus and meet up with their teacher and classmates outside the school,” she said. “It is also a treat to see our former fourth grade students on the bus as they are awaiting the drop-off at Reed.”

By 8:55 am a beaming Marsha Moskowitz, an owner-operator in the district, was wishing students on her bus well as they walked off the vehicle and toward Sandy Hook School for the first time this school year.

Down the sidewalk, Sandy Hook School Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung and Assistant Principal Anthony Salvatore waited to greet students, along with other school staff and faculty for the start of the 2011-12 academic year.

Ms Hochsprung said students looked happy and ready to learn.

Early in the afternoon, Ms Hochsprung also said, “Dr Salvatore and I have visited every classroom — we’ll see afternoon kindergarten soon — and our students were already hard at work. We are looking forward to a wonderful, exciting year!”

Earlier in the morning staff at Reed Intermediate School, Principal Sharon Epple and Assistant Principal Jennifer Sinal waited to escort fifth and sixth grade students through the school for the first time. Each year the fifth grade students at Reed are brought first to the school’s cafeteria for an introduction to the school.

A slideshow of photos from around Newtown is available with this story at www.NewtownBee.com.

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