Ascension Parish teachers excited for first day of school

Ascension Parish teachers excited for first day of school
Photo provided by staff
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 9:36pm

Last-minute preparations are done, so now teachers can welcome students back into their classrooms.

"It's so exciting to welcome students to a new school year every year," said Michelle Braud, a fourth grade social studies teacher at Dutchtown Primary School. "It's just something brand new and it's something to look forward to."

"What we've been anticipating all summer," agreed Faith Rogers, a special education teacher at Dutchtown Primary.

Wednesday is the first day of class for public schools in Ascension Parish. The first day will be especially significant for Rogers, who is starting her first year as a teacher.

"I am so excited," she stated. "Very nervous, and as I was walking down the hallway, or the boardwalk, rather, I was jumping for joy."

Rogers, Braud, and their colleagues spent the summer learning as much as they could about their new groups of students.

"Yeah, I've been studying their [Individual Education Programs] and talking to other teachers," Rogers mentioned, "and trying to get to know what is best for each student."

"And even in our pre-planning days, we've looked at a lot of their data, to kind of see where they are and where we want them to go, and what their needs are," Braud added.

Braud described the final days of summer as "hectic," but she appeared calm and happy in her classroom Tuesday afternoon.

"Everything's pretty well organized now," she explained. "So now I'm just planning activities for my students based on what I'm going to find out the first couple of days. I'll give them some pre-tests and see where they are and meet them where they are, and have a variety of activities for the different types of learners that I'm going to encounter this year."

Many teachers spent the last couple weeks in professional development sessions, learning about the new resources their schools would offer. Some of those resources are geared toward helping teachers utilize the Common Core State Standards. Braud said she is not concerned about the political maneuvering at the state level related to Common Core and standardized testing.

"No, because really, our mission is to teach our kids, all of our students, to help them become successful and to prepare them for their future," she stated. "And that's the mission every year regardless of what the standards are. Good teaching is good teaching. And we really want our students to become lifelong learners and have a love for that. And so that's really what our mission and our goal is every year, regardless of what's going on with the curriculum."

Dutchtown Primary is trying a new system to help students engage in class from Day One. The school found a company that provides school supplies in a box. Parents had only to go to the company's website, enter the name of their child's teacher, and everything would be delivered for the first day of class. Roughly 300 students, or a third of the children enrolled at Dutchtown Primary, have boxes of supplies waiting for them.

"Sometimes they get very upset if they've forgotten their materials or they couldn't purchase something and they're not prepared to participate at the level that we would like them to, and that they want to," Braud said. "So it's great to have all of that in one box."

Rogers wants not only to teach her students, but to learn more about teaching. She said she has had lots of meetings with the established teachers at the school.

"Veteran teachers are going to be the greatest resource for me learning how to become a good teacher," she said.

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