The thermometer may read like mid-July, but next Tuesday will come the words that children and teenagers will either love or dread.
“Welcome back to school.”
The Whitehall Central School District will open its doors to students on Tuesday, Sept. 7, for the 2010-11 school year.
“Thursday and Friday will be the assemblies for the students where we will go over the expectations for the upcoming school year,” said junior-senior high school Principal Kelly McHugh. “We are ready for the new year and excited to get the students back.”
“We all leave in June ready for the vacation,” said elementary school Principal David St. Germain. “We go through the summer preparing for this day and when it comes, we’re ready for everyone to come back and this year is no different.”
St. Germain said a key goal in the upcoming school year is to get students prepared for the new standards that are part of the state testing program.
“The state has changed the way they evaluate the cut scores for their testing,” said St. Germain. “We have kids that were doing fine under the old system that now may struggle under the new one. We need to look at where we are, make a few changes if needed and get back on track with those scores.”
Overall, St. Germain said, students will notice few changes in the day-to-day activities.
“The kids will not see that much of a difference,” he said. “We have had a solid program and structure here for a long time and we will continue to do that.”
St. Germain added that the elementary school is also working with the students to prepare them to work with new technology.
“We want to stress the 21st century skills that they will need,” he said. “There are more technology and computer-based programs and things that we do to get them ready for that, all appropriate to where each classes needs are.”
At the junior and senior high school building, McHugh said, the goals continue to focus around treating fellow students and teachers with respect.
“Being respectful, responsible and result-oriented is our mantra here,” said McHugh. “As long as they are following these guidelines, everything else will fall into place, like being kind to other students and striving for good results in class.”
McHugh said the school will continue to work toward making the school a safe place, including new programs to curtail bullying.
“Our teachers are going to be working on a book throughout the school year that addresses the problem of bullying and what teachers and adults can do to help put an end to it,” said McHugh. “We all talk about how painful it can be, and we are going to work closely with this.”
McHugh said the goal is to stop bullying through parental contact, counseling and consequences whenever a problem arises.
Overall, McHugh said, the programs come down to students leading students.
“The most important thing is that these students learn to lead by example,” said McHugh. “We have a building where we have 11-year-olds going to school with 19-year-olds. In the high school, especially the juniors and seniors, I expect them to lead by example and to show maturity, respect and responsibility.”