IW students begin learning right away

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Carrsville Elementary's Debbie Story as the Queen of Hearts calls on her third-grade students to answer a question on the first day of classes. -- Stephen Cowles | Tidewater News

Carrsville Elementary’s Debbie Story as the Queen of Hearts calls on her third-grade students to answer a question on the first day of classes. — Stephen Cowles | Tidewater News

CARRSVILLE—In their places with bright shiny faces were the students of Carrsville Elementary School on Tuesday. That was the first day of classes for them, as well as the rest of Isle of Wight County.

Already in the 9 o’clock hour, the little ones were getting right into lessons. For example, Judith Hasty asked her fourth-graders to think about what might be in the sealed paper bags that were placed on their desks.

The idea, said Principal Laura Matthews, is to guide them to critical thinking through discussion and prediction of the contents.

She also explained that the staff came up with the school’s theme this year: “CES has HEART – Helping Everyone Achieve Remarkable Things.”

To help make that point, Debbie Story got to wear part of the Queen of Hearts costume for her third-graders. Matthews went all out at the school system’s convocation last week.

Meanwhile at Windsor High School, Deborah McManaway prepped computers for her all-girl chemistry class. Downstairs, Virginia Beatty-Riffle, the school’s Teacher of the Year for 2012-13, had her first class for the theater arts; she also teaches English. They were playing the game of “Who am I?” as part of a lesson. Elsewhere, Roland Downing is introducing his students to career and technical education.

“The first day of school kicked off smoothly this year for Isle of Wight County Schools,” said spokeswoman Kenita Bowers. “All seemed to be well with the buses as there have been no reports of any incidents thus far.”

She added the school system had most of its projected membership numbers for the day. Those who were out have been attributed to the parents of sixth-graders who didn’t realize tdap vaccinations requirements were mandatory.

At Carrsville, there were 245 students registered; at Windsor Elementary, 634; at Windsor Middle, 370; and at Windsor High, 463.

Bowers also thanked the local Sheriff’s Department for working with the school system to ensure a safe first day. She added that Superintended Katrise Perera, the school safety team and law enforcement recently developed a plan to allow the police departments of Windsor and Smithfield, as well as the sheriff’s office, to be represented at each of the schools not just on one opening day, but to regularly ensure a safe year.

“The first day of school went very well on all accounts,” said Perera. “The teachers, administrators and staff truly put their heart and soul into preparing for the 2013-14 school year – which was obvious to all who were present.”

“In every classroom I visited today,” she continued. “I witnessed teachers and students who were enthusiastically engaged in learning. It was a banner day and I expect with teamwork this will be the new norm in IWCS.”