Hendrick Hudson School District will be returning for the 2013-2014 academic year today (Monday, Sept. 9), and with weeks of preparation behind them, administrators and teachers are ready.Students across the
Between attending faculty meetings, setting up rooms, training for new programs and meeting Joseph Hochreiter, the new superintendent, the faculty has been busy.
"We work hard but we have fun," Dr. Jennifer LeFevre said as she put the finishing touches on her kindergarten classroom at Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School (BVES) last week. "It's one of the things I stress."
Between regular setup and "Kinder Camp," LeFevre was in her room all of August. That meant unpacking, reorganizing materials, arranging the desks and preparing lessons and routines. There are a lot of the latter in kindergarten, when the youngsters are just 4 and 5-years-old.
"They're babies at the beginning, they leave as independent learners," LeFevre said, adding that teaching at this level is rewarding. After her students get acclimated and comfortable in the building—a necessity dedicated to the first day, which, she says, is usually hardest on the parents—the 19-year classroom veteran plans to get right to teaching letters.
LeFevre started tailoring her practices for the Common Core last year. The Common Core establishes standards as to what students are expected to know before each academic year is up.
BVES Reading teacher Marion Borges has had the Common Core on her mind often, too. She spent time this summer familiarizing with a new literacy intervention program that offers a writing component, and is more in line with the new standards.
In addition to the new program, this year Borges—who has been in education for more than 25 years—is teaching all grade levels instead of second through fifth. She's in a new classroom, too.
"Change is always hard, but change is growth," she said. "If you want to be a good teacher you have to adapt."
Teaching reading is challenging at times, Borges told Patch. But hearing a child read a sentence, and knowing that it's clicking, is very rewarding.
To do that, Borges plans to use the new program effectively. She's looking forward to seeing the results it produces.
Another step she takes to "create lifelong readers" is setting up a reading corner, with a rocking chair and plenty of books. In her opinion, choice is key.
"You can always be better at anything you can do," she said, recalling what she tells students at the beginning of the year. "The trick is to motivate, to try to make it fun and try to be positive."