School is back in session

Published 11:22 pm Monday, August 10, 2009

Meadowview history teacher Barbara Skrobak sat behind her desk with two stacks of American History textbooks almost completely concealing her.

She thumbed through them to determine which books are worthy of distributing to her students today. It’s part of ongoing preparation efforts that went on at schools across Dallas County Monday as the 2009-10 school session kicked off.

“Usually, the first week, it runs more smoothly because some of the teachers are new and some of the kids are new, so they’re kind of testing the waters,” said Skrobak. “One of the things we see a good bit is they’ve waited until the last minute to get that haircut and some of them, I noticed today, came with the need to shave. They just want to cling to that last little bit of freedom before they get back into our routine.”

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Students at Morgan Academy eased into the return with a half-day.

“We’ve done it the past few years,” said Morgan ninth-grader Conner Stephens.

Though excited about moving to the high school level, he said returning to the old grind is difficult.

“I didn’t want to, but it wasn’t too bad,” he said. “A few days ago, I just thought to myself, ‘It’s the last two days of freedom.’”

Students at Meadowview and Bryd Elementary weren’t as lucky, as both began the year with full days.

That didn’t bother Meadowview ninth-graders Britnee Everhart and Rebecca Boutwell, who were excited to rejoin their friends and move up a rung on the high school food chain.

“I actually have a name now,” said Everhart. “We used to just be called seventh-graders or eighth-graders. We’re freshmen now, so it’s pretty cool.”

Boutwell added, “It’s almost like you’re coming back to a family. You don’t want summer to end, but you want to get back to your friends you can’t see.”

As students at the higher grades learned class policies, dress code and introductions to their new courses, Byrd Elementary students hit the ground running.

“We start teaching day one, especially with our reading programs,” said principal Beth Taylor. “If they come into a structured environment, and they start that first day . . . while you’re teaching, you’re also teaching your rules and integrating with the learning that’s going on.”

Taylor said things went smoothly Monday, with the exception of an unanticipated challenge with the school’s new pre-kindergarten program.

“The only thing we didn’t account for this morning was in the drop-off line,” she said. “

“All the pre-K and K parents parking their cars there. That’ll take care of itself as soon as that separation anxiety is taken care of.”

Fifth-grader Aanessa Watson said the transition from summer is difficult and will take time to get used to.

“It’s like we were gone for three months, and we just wanted to relax and watch TV,” she said. “Now we have to get up at seven in the morning again and come to school.”