When Brewster students head back to school Tuesday they'll meet teachers who have been eagerly setting up classrooms for the last several weeks.
Two superintendent's conference days were held last week. Teachers also variety faculty meetings and met with colleagues before heading off to put the finishing touches on classrooms, where the shelves have been dusted and the floors waxed.
"It is exciting," said John Conroy, assistant principal at John F. Kennedy Elementary School on Foggintown Road in Southeast. "It's literally a brand-new start."
Conroy said administrators and teachers alike are looking forward to "the shifts," or the ways English language arts and math are taught as outlined by the Common Core curriculum. The Common Core establishes standards as to what students are expected to know before each academic year is up.
First-grade teacher Dr. Theresa Lavelle kept the Common Core in mind when she created nameplates—thick paper cards chockfull of information that goes beyond a student's name—for her students [see attached video].
"I want to make sure all the students are comfortable, happy and confident on their first day of school, so everything is set up for them," she said. "They know where their cubbies are, they know where to put all their materials and they'll have a little activity on their desk so they feel right comfortable using their supplies right away when they get into their classroom."
Over in the kindergarten wing, where youngsters will be attending full-day sessions instead of the half-day program the district previously ran, teachers were preparing Thursday for students who will start school with assessment screenings.
Judy Gilstad and Mary Grgecic are in an integrated co-teaching classroom. Along with teacher's aid Lisa Hopf, they were gathering crayons and markers and preparing other materials for the first day of school.
Gilstad loves the wonder and curiosity she sees on students' faces at this age.
"It's a really exciting year because children learn to read," Grgecic said. "That's the most exciting."
Administrators encourage parents to check out EngageNY.org, developed and maintained by the New York State Education Department (NYSED, for parent and family resources.