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Teachers, administrators prepare for first day of school
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While area youth are trying to live up their last few days of summer, teachers, administrators and school staff members have been busy getting ready for a new academic year.

“The week before school is an extremely busy time with all staff working together to put the final touches on readying the campus for the first day of school,” said Marie Peterson, Turlock High School assistant principal.

Turlock High staff have been busy putting together a master schedule, cleaning classrooms, preparing mailings to keep students on track for graduation and lesson plans just to name a few, Peterson said.

Their goal is to set their students up for success with a safe, clean and welcoming environment, she said.

“Due to the current financial and economic crisis, many of our student’s home lives are characterized by uncertainty and stress,” Peterson said. “In these trying times, school is truly a safe haven where students can eat a hot meal, interact with a caring adult, socialize with friends and learn the skills necessary to successfully negotiate their post-secondary futures.”

To keep schools a safe haven in this dying economy, administrators and staff have been working extra hard this year to make the first day of school the best yet.

Maintenance staff have been cleaning the classrooms, making the grounds look nice and moving furniture as part of their duties, said Aaron Mello, Wakefield principal.

Everything that is done behind the scenes is to ensure the organization of the school for that first day, Mello said. Teacher and technology training is done prior to the first day of school as well.

The main concentration for Wakefield Elementary this year is to organize everything and keep obstacles out of the teacher’s way, he said.

“Our job is to take away distractions from teachers so they can work their magic in the classrooms,” Mello said.

Teachers have a lot of hard work to get done prior to the first day of school that could take them weeks to set up.

Sixth grade Dennis Earl Elementary School teacher Jenny Power has been working on her classroom for about two weeks now setting up everything from nametags to lesson plans, she said.

“It is a lot of work, a lot of supplies and a lot of money out-of-pocket to set up your classroom the way you want it for the year,” Power said.

Not only does Power set up her classroom as a learning environment, she also sets up the majority of her lesson plans and incorporates all her professional development over the summer into the way she teaches for the upcoming year, she said.

She also takes the time to review each of her students to learn what their strengths and weaknesses are before meeting them.

With school starting up on Monday, local educators offer these words of wisdom: practice going to bed early now and read, read, and read.  

“Summers can be a long stretch,” Mello said. “So go to bed earlier now to help prepare for school hours on Monday.”  

Also, be prepared to jump right in on the first day of school.

“We start teaching from day one,” Power said. “We teach curriculum on the first day so be ready to jump right in.”

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.