Back to School at Northern Shores

Published 9:36 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Along with about 14,000 students in Suffolk, I got up early Tuesday morning for my first day of the new school year.

After a long summer, I spent the morning of Sept. 6 at Northern Shores Elementary School.

By 8:30 a.m., a line formed at the front desk and filed out of the building. Proud parents toting plastic bags filled with supplies for the classrooms accompanied their children into the building.

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When I think of the first day of school, I always imagine tired students who would rather be anywhere than school, but to my surprise, all of the students at Northern Shores looked thrilled and excited to be there.

Dressed in their first day’s best, kids piled off the buses and out of cars, ready to face the day and start their year.

Especially full of energy were the kindergarteners who made their way into new classrooms. While many of their parents were nervous wrecks, the students had ear-to-ear smiles as they took their seats.

The Northern Shores kindergarten classrooms are decked out with lots of colorful decorations and do a great job to capture the kids’ attention. The vividly adorned walls seemed to dazzle every student who entered the room.

Also, each kindergarten teacher greeted and welcomed every student individually. I think the parents who came to school with their kids appreciated that kind of attention to help the students’ transition.

More than the joyful students and friendly classrooms, one thing about Northern Shores’ first day really stood out to me. I got the chance to witness the system the school has in place to unload the buses. And it is a well-oiled machine.

As each bus arrived, a group of administrators and teachers assistants worked diligently not just to get the students where they needed to be at the beginning of the day but to ensure they knew where they needed to go at the end of it, too.

The administrators and teacher’s assistants attached tags to the students’ backpacks to help sort out which students belonged on which buses.

Also, kindergarteners received hats with their teachers’ names on them as they got off their buses, so if they got lost and couldn’t remember their teachers, someone would be able to help.

I saw firsthand how useful the hats could be when a little boy was wandering around the hall, looking for his classroom. A parent asked if the boy was lost, and when he nodded, the parent only had to read the hat to help the boy get to his classroom.

While the school was still bustling up until the last minute, every student was in his or her desk and ready to start the day by 9 a.m.

Considering the potential for chaos at an elementary school on the first day of the year, the hard work and cooperation of the staff and the parents paid off. Everyone managed to get in their goodbyes and find their classrooms before school took off for another year.