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My word for this school year is “excited.” I was moved to fifth grade two years ago, and this coming year is the group of students I had when I taught second grade. I am so excited to have the opportunity to teach these sweet children again. 

My message for parents is to spend time and engage with their children. The best summers are spent at the pool, hiking in the mountains, digging in the garden, catching lightening bugs, afternoons at the library, walking through the zoo and just exploring your own backyard. Students need a break from the formal classroom structure and learn on their own with their own explorations. Students can then come back to school with new and exciting background knowledge that they can apply to their new year at school. –Teresa Swiger, Fifth Grade Science, Monarch Elementary School

As a 4K teacher, most of my students are starting school for the very first time. I want parents to know that my main goal is for their child to feel welcomed, loved and special at school. I want the children to feel safe to try new things and find many ways to feel successful. The best way to help prepare children to start school is by reading with them as often as possible. Reading enhances a child’s vocabulary and imagination. Much of our learning occurs through play, so it’s my goal to make learning fun and exciting as they begin their journey in education.  –Ashley Bowers, 4K, East End Elementary 

Excitement is definitely in the air! Contrary to popular beliefs, for months now, teachers and school leaders have been collaboratively brainstorming, meeting and planning for a brand new school year. We challenge ourselves yearly to reinvent the educational experience for our students that we miss dearly. How can we be more engaging and execute more meaningful lessons, all while attaining set expectations by our district and state? This challenge is one we welcome whole-heartedly. In-between family vacations, professional development trainings and conferences, dedicated educators are more than ready to welcome our students back with open arms. Babe Ruth said it best, “Yesterday’s home-runs don’t win today’s games.” Cheers to a brand new school year, full of new experiences!  – Damon M. Qualls, Principal, Monaview Elementary School

All of our students come to us from different backgrounds and have various skills. Teach them to be kind to adults and peers. That alone will get them far in life! Don’t expect your child’s teacher and the school system to teach them all they need to know. Teach them to cook and clean at home as well as other life skills so that their teachers can focus on the academics they are trained to teach. – Dee Ackerman, French, Carolina High School

Trust the teacher and staff. They will treat your child like their own. Be an involved parent. Don't cry in front of your child the first day. Save it for the car! When the announcement is made for all parents to leave the building, honor it. Say a quick goodbye, give a hug and kiss, and go. 

If the teacher requests something, try your best to contribute, whether it be material items or your time. Remember, there will be children whose families won't send in any supplies, so help the teachers by providing extra Kleenex, markers, etc. Get them on sale and stock up. You'll make the teacher so happy! 

Last, but not least, don't blink as your child walks towards his/her kindergarten class. As a friend once told me, if you blink, your child will suddenly be in high school. (I now know this as a fact as my child is in high school.) Time truly flies!  – Rebecca Poole, Special Educator, Bethel Elementary School

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