Students head back to school

Published 9:34 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Holly Reed and her daughter, Hailey Reed, anxiously await her first day of Pre-kindergarden to start.

Holly Reed and her daughter, Hailey Reed, anxiously await her first day of Pre-kindergarden to start.

As an estimated 13,694 students flooded the halls of Suffolk Public Schools for the first time since June, a rush of emotions filled the air.

“I’m more excited for her first day that I was for mine,” said Holly Reed, mother of Hailey Reed. Hailey was getting ready to start her first day of pre-kindergarten at Oakland Elementary School.

Not all parents were quite as excited, however. “I’m sad, it’s my last one; sad but excited,” said Holly Wulfekuht on sending her son, Ronald Blackman, to his first day of pre-kindergarten.

Email newsletter signup

As the cars and buses arrived at Oakland Elementary School, around 9 a.m., children piled off their buses, and mothers and fathers walked their children into the school.

According to Bethanne Bradshaw, school district spokeswoman, the day went fairly smoothly for students and teachers across the city. There were a few late buses, but the majority of those were due to substitutes filling in or drivers needing to run a second route to make up for drivers who called out.

The children that arrived by bus were guided on where to go by a number of pre-kindergarten teachers, said Lynnette Jones, teacher assistant for special education. The teachers did so in order to ensure students got where they needed to go, but because of this, many parents and pre-kindergarteners were left standing in the hall waiting for their teachers to return to their classrooms after school had already started.

As students entered the building, some started their day enjoying their breakfast in the cafeteria before going to class. Others went straight to their classrooms and met their new teachers.

“(I’m) happy to see all our sweet faces come back, and some new ones,” said art teacher Jodie Linkous. Linkous has been a teacher at Oakland Elementary for 17 years.

“I drive from Petersburg every day, that’s how much I love teaching here,” she said.

“(I’m) excited for a fresh new start,” said Alexandria Binford, teacher assistant for special education.

Within the school system, there are 103 new teachers with varying levels of teaching experience, said Bradshaw.

But there are still has some teaching positions open, including one sixth-grade math and science teacher, one physics teacher and one technical education teacher, among others. The district is in decent shape considering what other years have looked like, Bradshaw said. “Some years we’ve started with 15,” Bradshaw said regarding the number of positions remaining available by the start of school.

All in all, Bradshaw said, the first day went fairly smoothly.