‘A rockin’ day!’

Published 5:55 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

All along the corridors at Windsor Elementary School, bulletin boards colorfully declare students’ intentions and thoughts for the coming year. On the first day of classes, assistant principal Kristy Buggs points out one display that highlights the Five C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Citizenship. That’s the theme going through all the Isle of Wight County School Division this year and beyond. The intention is to prepare the students for college and life.

There’s even a whimsical board that asks everybody what makes them smile. The children and faculty autograph their happiness.

Touring through the classrooms, one can see the teachers and their aides getting their young students involved with preparations for the year to come: organizing note binders, schedules and the like. Lessons have also begun in earnest.

Herman Williams, who teaches fourth grade, is introduced at one point. He said this is his 33rd year and last, with plans to retire. Principal Ellen Couch comes in and indicates with a smile that she hopes to change his mind. She’s got several months ahead to work on the plan.

Down the road, Georgie D. Tyler Middle School Principal Jessica Harding guides this report to various classrooms to meet teachers and students for the sake of taking pictures. Without exception, the children turn to see what’s happening.

Promoted to the leadership role this past spring, Harding is assisted by Todd Christianson, previously at Smithfield Middle School. Before that, he was at John F. Kennedy in Suffolk.

Further south in the county, Carrsville Elementary School teachers Laura Vick and Sandy Jones practice one of the C’s with their collaboration on the monthly calendar, which will include important dates for the students, such as their resource schedule. Vick said this is her first year with the Bulldogs, but she’s been teaching now for 28 years; Jones is going on her 17th year here; the previous nine in Suffolk.

Principal Clint Walters said there are always hiccups the first day, but eventually, “everything just falls into place.”

Mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Meherrin Elementary School Principal Tasha Ricks, now in her third year, guides the reporter looking for busy classrooms. There’s no shortage, to be sure.

Ashley Van Dyke, who teaches first grade, is all eyes and ears watching and listening to her students, overseeing their task at hand. She’s had a good — no, a great first opening.

Van Dyke said, “It’s been a rockin’ day!”

Her smile confirms it’s all true.