READY TO GREET THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR — Some West Valley Central School students were more eager to return to school than others were. Students are pictured disembarking the school buses on their way to finding their new classrooms, on the first day of school, Sept. 5. Photos by Sandy Dashnaw.
SPRINGVILLE — This week, students at Springville-Griffith Institute, St. Aloysius Regional School and West Valley Central School headed back to school, along with other students across Western New York. In these local districts, several changes will greet students and staff members, as they embark on the 2012 school year.
BACK TO BUSINESS —West Valley Superintendent Eric Lawton is shown discussing school business with parent Sarah Keller.
At WVCS, a new superintendent is at the helm, with Eric Lawton’s taking the reins at that institution. Lawton has been in place at WVCS since July 7. The new superintendent has some big plans for the new school year, as he told his staff on opening day, Sept. 4.
“We all have to work together toward our goal of getting each student ready for college and career,” Lawton said. “Teamwork goes from the bus driver, who is the first friendly face [the students] see in the morning, to the cleaners who provide a safe place for teaching and learning, to the teachers, administration and clerical staff, working in concert for an excellent educational experience for our students.”
WELCOME BACK — WVCS first grade teacher Michelle Enser is shown helping her students settle in on the first day of class.
Lawton also rolled out a policy he called “The Wildcat Way,” which is an expectation he said the district has set for all students, faculty, staff and administration. Lawton said he hopes it will set the tone for the new school year.
“At WVCS, we always show respect to everyone and do our best,” Lawton said, summing up the new mission statement. “Our focus on respect and responsibility ... will be the basis of all decisions for the year.”
Students filled the halls of that institution on Sept. 5.
GETTING BACK IN THE GROOVE — Although her expression may not show it, eighth grader Kim Kaiser said she is excited to be back in school.
At S-GI, a new vision statement will set the tone for the students, as well. That statement, intended to guide the Comprehensive District Education Plan for S-GI that was unveiled before school let out last June, is “linking today’s learners to tomorrow’s possibilities.”
That vision, according to a statement made by JoAnn DePue, S-GI director of technology, data and assessment, will work with the district’s mission statement “to create a cohesive plan for each teacher, building and the district as a whole.”
WAITING TO START THE SCHOOL DAY — These students all posed for a picture as they waited for permission to get off the bus.
The mission statement stated that S-GI is “a learning community committed to thinking critically, reflectively and creatively, while courageously pursuing challenges and contributing to society.”
As the new CDEP is put into place, S-GI is set to follow what the plan calls the “five C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and community.”
STANDING AT ATTENTION —The fleet of buses were lined up at West Valley Central School, waiting for students to disembark.
As part of S-GI’s CDEP, several education plans will be reviewed this year, including Academic Intervention Services, Annual Professional Performance Review, the comprehensive system of personal development, guidance, local assistance, professional development, response to intervention, safety, shared decision-making, special education and technology. That process will be enacted throughout the year through a series of meetings and presentations to the community.
In addition, the S-GI District has a new shared transportation supervisor, Rose Heckathorn, who also works for the Eden Central School District.
A new bus routing system called Transfinder®, that Heckathorn implemented with the help of Ben Higgins, technology integrator for S-GI, has changed some bus routes with the goal of maximum efficiency, although ride times have increased for some of the students.
Capital improvement projects at all S-GI District buildings greeted students on the first day of school, including freshly-painted classrooms and corridors, new fall zone safety mats on the Springville Elementary School playground, a newly-improved heating system in the high school and new hardware on some doors, among other improvements.
Fall sports are also in full swing, with the first S-GI boys varsity and junior varsity soccer and football, girls varsity and JV volleyball, soccer and tennis and cross-country teams’ all having games this week. Golf and swimming also kick off this month.
UNDECIDED — These 11th grade students said they aren’t sure if they are ready for school, but are looking forward to another year. Pictured, from left: Shana Dearmyer, Kaley Burdick and Sarah Lechowski.
At St. Aloysius, a new Montessori preschool classroom greeted the building’s youngest students. Principal Scott Kapperman and teacher Colleen Smith welcomed the first Montessori students in Springville to the alternative preschool program. That program, which has been in the works since last year, is still accepting new students.
RENEWING FRIENDSHIPS — Students were gathered in the hall at WVCS before the final bell rang, telling them to go to their homerooms.
In advance of open houses and parent-teacher conferences, set to take place later this month, more information about WVCS can be found on its website at www.wvalley.wnyric.org.
The S-GI website, as well as its district calendar, can be found at www.springvillegi.org.
St. Aloysius can be found online at www.staloysiusregional.com.