Year-round schools kick off new year

Jul. 15, 2013 @ 03:48 PM

It was a smooth start to the year-round schools in Durham on Monday morning.
The School for Creative Studies, Easley Elementary, Roger-Herr Middle, Pearsontown Elementary and Holt Elementary opened their doors to 2,800 students kicking off the 2013-14 school year.
Easley Principal Timothy Gibson said that the start of the new school year was without any problems, major or minor, and that the anticipation is always the biggest hurdle.
“The preparation is always the biggest part,” Gibson said. “Once we start getting bodies in the seats it starts to materialize for us. For first through fifth grades they’ve been out for a few weeks and they’re just in a new classroom. That’s the advantage to a year-round school.”
Besides keeping summer learning loss to a minimum, Gibson said that the year-round schedule makes it a little easier on teachers too, who are able to bounce back after a four-week break.
“At the end of nine weeks the teachers can reflect on the last nine weeks and prepare for the next nine. We have more time to really prepare for the next nine weeks.”
Fatima Castro and Josh White are fifth-graders at Easley, and both said they were excited about their first day back at school.
“I didn’t know any of my teachers,” White said.
“I’m excited because we get to go to a new grade,” added Castro.
When asked how the day had been going so far, both said it had gone well, with White adding that “the day goes by quick.”
Gibson greeted teachers and students as he walked through the halls and peeked in on several classrooms and introduced himself to new students.
Over at Rogers-Herr Middle School, Principal Mike Fuga and his staff had energy to match their incoming classes.
“It’s been phenomenal,” Fuga said. “The teachers have done a phenomenal job owning their classrooms and their teams. It’s been very smooth.”
Like many of the students, Fuga said that he was full of nervous energy Sunday night as he tried to rest for the next day.
“I couldn’t sleep. I was up through the night going over things that could happen,” he explained. “I’m just like the kids. It’s about sustaining the energy through day 180.”
Beth Amerto is a first-year sixth-grade teacher at Rogers-Herr Middle. Keeping her students from being too still and in an effort to help them get to know one another, she had her students line up around the room and say their name and give it a physical symbol that each subsequent student would repeat after introducing themselves.
Fuga got in on the action and helped some of the more nervous students smile and relax a bit in their new classroom.
Michael Bloom, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Rogers-Herr, echoed the sentiments of Fuga, noting that the first day of school is still a rush year after year.
“It’s been great. I’ve been doing this for almost eight years so it’s like riding a bike. It’s always good to get a new group of kids.
“It’s always exciting. It’s always good to grow. I never teach anything the same way each year. It keeps me on my toes,” Bloom said.
The traditional school year will begin on Aug. 26.