As the final week of summer break comes to an end, teachers and staff throughout Delaware City Schools are putting the final touches on classrooms before students return on Aug. 14.
At Hayes High School, Principal Ric Stranges said the custodial staff has been working hard over the summer to clean the floors and classrooms, while also installing brighter light bulbs throughout the school.
“(I’ve seen) the sense of pride the custodial staff takes in presenting the building in a way that makes students and parents feel good,” Stranges said. “We want that first visual to be a positive one. We want to make that first day as less stressful as possible.”
Stranges said certain classes at the school have had the blackboards and projects removed and replaced with white boards and smart TVs. He added the change will give teachers more avenues and opportunities to teach.
“We really are looking forward to another year,” Stranges said. “The anticipation of new students is renewing. It keeps you excited, the growth and rebirth every year. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.”
At Smith Elementary School, first grade teacher Paige Kantzer, who said she was looking forward to the start of the school year, was organizing her classroom Thursday morning.
“This is my first year in first grade,” Kantzer said, adding she’s been with the district for four years but has only taught kindergarten up until now. “I’m more excited. I’m really going to like it.”
At Conger Elementary School, teachers said they were excited for the school year to begin.
“I’m looking forward to the first day of school, and I’m really excited to see the kids excited,” said Kristen Valko, a first grade teacher.
“At such a young age, kids are actually excited to come back to school,” joked Emily Banaszak, a fellow first grade teacher. “I’m excited to see those first experiences at school.”
Banaszak, who formerly taught kindergarten before moving to first grade, said she is excited to have some of her same students again.
Third grade teacher Jackie Washington said she’s as excited as always for the school year but still feels nervous. She said she reads a book to her students on their first day about first day of school nerves and implies throughout that it’s about students, only to reveal at the end that the book is actually about teachers being nervous.
“It’s always a mix of excitement and nervousness,” Washington said. “But I still love to learn, and even though I’ve been teaching for a while, I’m still learning. I’m excited, I have new ideas I want to try.”
Amanda Kunkle, a fellow third grade teacher, said Thursday that she’s excited to meet her new students.
“I always look forward to a new group of kids to spend the year together,” Kunkle said. “We have the same (nervous) feelings as students, but I look forward to seeing them.”
Intervention specialist Sarah Kuney said she works with the same students at the school as they move up grade levels, and she can’t wait to catch up with them about their summers and get to work on the next school year.
“It’s like a family,” Kuney said. “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to a new year and having fun.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.