8/27/13 Parents escort students as another school year begins
Photos by Sam Roberts / Times-News
Grove Park Elementary School principal Shadonna Gunn, right, greets students Dante Brannon, 5, left, and Curtis Brannon, 7, center, along with their mother, Kimiko Brannon, on the fi rst day of school Monday at Grove Park Elementary School in Burlington.
Parents escort students as another school year begins
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 8/27/13
Reprinted with permission.
By 7:30 a.m., Principal Shadonna Gunn was answering a question about once a second as parents walked students into Grove Park Elementary School.
It was the first day of school.
A teacher stood by the door welcoming students, asking if they knew where they were going and if they needed breakfast.
|Grove Park Elementary School students along with parents fi le into the building along the bulldog paws path on the fi rst day of school.|
Many parents walked in with bags of tissues, sanitary wipes, notebook paper and other supplies.
Men got stickers for their shirts saying, “I took my child to school,” and the Million Father March logo from the Black Star Project out of Chicago.
“When fathers are more actively involved, research shows their kids do better on tests and (are) more motivated to graduate and go to college,” said Amber Doby, a school social worker.
Outside, a woman took a picture with her phone of a man with his sticker.
Omar Vanuvio, wearing his sticker, carried his younger son in one arm after dropping off his third-grader.
“He was crazy yesterday,” Vanuvio said. “He said, ‘I want to go now.’”
This was not how Vanuvio felt when he was in school. He even skipped some.
“I was very smart on that, but not on doing the math.” At the school’s open house on Aug. 22, Gunn said, 52 fathers signed a pledge to bring their children to school and volunteer during the year. She was pleased to see more than that in the halls on the first day.
Gunn said teachers had not seen so many people at the school’s open house in 10 or 12 years. Teachers told Gunn the difference was contacting families through an Internet service for teachers to communicate with families and each other, called ConnectEd, to invite them.
Twenty-five minutes after the class bell, the halls were empty.
“Not too bad for the first day,” Gunn said. “8:15 and it’s all quiet.”
IN WESTERN MIDDLE school at 11 a.m. Patrick Vernon was taking his social studies class through the paperwork of the first day of middle school.
“This will not be the most exciting class,” Vernon told his students, but said class would be more interesting in future days.
First, he rearranged their seats in alphabetical order so he could learn their names and then took them through the notebooks where they will bring forms home to their parents.
One of the first papers he pulled out was a letter from state Superintendent of Public Schools June Atkinson telling parents there were four students killed getting on and off school buses last school year, so they should warn students not to assume everyone on the road is paying attention.
There was a sheaf of other papers going home, medical forms, emergency contacts, “the more phone numbers the better,” Vernon said.
Then it was the paperwork for the students themselves, like lunch calendars — chicken nuggets and bread sticks Monday — and class rules. “What is noncompliance?” a student asked.
Vernon had not told them false — before the lunch bell, there were chins on fists.
As it got close to time to line up for lunch, Vernon sized up middle school while explaining how sixth-graders taking seventh-grade math would eat lunch with other sixth-graders, but not the others in his class.
“It’s complicated,” Vernon said.