School district faculty and staff filed into the auditorium at Newtown High School on Thursday, August 21, for a convocation ceremony to mark the near-beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
Representatives of local boards and the Newtown Police Department were also in attendance, including members of the Board of Education and First Selectman Pat Llodra.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Gejda pointed out near the start of the event that just as the end of summer approaches, a sense of restlessness can become common, until the familiar routine of the school year returns.
Anxiety about the first day of school is not limited to kindergarteners and children starting a new school. Younger children, even those with a year or two of school behind them, may experience a new or repeat bout of separation anxiety, and children of any age are often apprehensive about the unknown: a new teacher, new classmates and new academic challenges. “Anxiety is normal and understandable at any time of change or transition, including the beginning of a new school year,” says Dr Carly Orenstein of Morris Psychological Group, located in Parsippany, N.J. “Children worry about things that are unfamiliar and about things they haven’t mastered yet. ‘What if I don’t know the answers? Will my teacher be nice? Who will I play with at recess?’ “Parents should be alert to the signs of anxiety and help children overcome their worries with some simple strategies that will ease the transition into the new year for the whole family.”
Classrooms were set, welcoming signs were on display, and students were making their way into their schools for the first time of the 2014-15 school year on Tuesday, August 26, for the first day of school. Just before buses began pulling up at Middle Gate Elementary School Tuesday morning, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, said the morning was going smoothly. Buses had already dropped students off at Newtown High School, Newtown Middle School, Reed Intermediate School, and local private schools, before making their way to the elementary schools. “So far it was a really good opening,” Dr Erardi said,
Parents and school community members should have received a letter from Director of Dining Services Dan Shields and Resident Dietitian Jill Patterson, RD, within the past two weeks from Chartwells School Dining Services to introduce its new Simply Good program ahead of the 2014-15 school school year. Different versions of the letter were sent out to describe the program for the elementary schools, for Reed Intermediate School, for Newtown Middle School, and for Newtown High School.
Rising Hawley Elementary School fourth grade student Conrad Chapman attended the International Plastic Modelers Society USA 2014 National Convention in Hampton, Va., from August 6 to 9, and brought home a first place title.
Conrad took first place in the pre-teen junior category for his model diorama titled, “BTR-70 Wrecked,” according to his father, Chris Chapman, who also had his own entries at the convention.
Conrad said this week that he has been creating models since he was 5 years old. Model building is a family hobby for him, his father, and his younger sister Madeleine, who is a rising first grader at Hawley.
“Play on!” Parks & Recreation Camp Dagorhir instructor Andrew Mangold said on Thursday, August 14.
Around him at Dickinson Memorial Park, campers waited in “ships” wearing a range of costume pieces and holding foam handmade “swords” or other devices.
This is the sixth year the program has been offered, according to Mr Mangold, and it has been growing.
The camp brings a role playing game to life at the park, with campers choosing different characters to play. Some choose to be merchants, some choose to learn magic, and others decide to play monsters, according to Mr Mangold.
Parents and family members of Housatonic Valley Waldorf School summer camp students were welcomed by a row of students looking over a fence door on the school’s campus on Friday, August 15.
Behind the row of students at the entrance, Camp Director Carrie Reilly was busy overseeing a spread of harvest feast offerings, from a sampling of fruit smoothies to vegetable soup, from pizza to salad, for parents, family members, and campers lined up to eat and celebrate.
Geralyn Hoerauf of Diversified Project Management told the Public Building and Site Commission (PB&S) at its meeting on Tuesday, August 12, the Phase 3 Site Work package for the Sandy Hook School building project has been approved by the state. “The team went up to the state on Friday, August 8,” said Ms Hoerauf. “The state did approve the package. It did authorize us to go to bid for site improvements. [Consigli Construction] is working as we speak for the bid packages.” A portion of the site improvements were set to go out to bid Thursday, August 14, and the bids will be due on September 16, according to Ms Hoerauf. Ms Hoerauf also said the town has asked Consigli Construction to come up with a method to control how bid documents will be shared with contractors. Sharing bid documents, she said, will be more of a concern with the Phase 4 building construction drawings than with the site improvement work in Phase 3, but the protocol is being developed now.
For students who attended Newtown Parks & Recreation day camps at Dickinson Memorial Park or at Treadwell Park, the summer concluded on Friday, August 8, with a talent show that combined both day camps.
“It was great just seeing what they can come with,” said Newtown Parks & Recreation Assistant Director RoseAnn Reggiano, about the talent show.
Groups of campers, or sometimes individuals, took turns displaying talents they may have found while at camp this summer or talents they have been harvesting longer.
Although Friday, August 1, was the last day of the Paint, Draw & More!’s Drawing Mixed Media weeklong camp offered through Newtown Parks & Recreation, students would go home not only with a number of finished projects, but also with new insight on various artistic concepts.
“I want to make the camp fun, and I want them to learn something at the same time,” said instructor Chuck Fulkerson, who taught the Newtown Parks & Recreation camp for four weeks this summer.
Students learned a number of artistic techniques, such as how to work with chalk, pastel, oil pastel, watercolor, acrylic, crayon, sculpture, clay, and more. Students even learned how to make a 3-D aquarium made out of recycled trays and containers.