Students heading back to school

August 19, 2013
Debbie Knox, a second-grade teacher at Avella Elementary School, hangs one of her many posters as she prepares her classroom for the start of school Wednesday. Knox will retire at the end of the school year after 30 years of teaching. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Summer vacation is coming to an end for thousands of students in Washington and Greene counties.

Children in three school districts – Avella, California and Washington – head back to school Aug. 21, the earliest start in the county.

While some – children and parents alike – yearn for a longer summer, others are eager for the new school year to start.

“I’m really excited,” said Madalyn Bane, 10, a fifth-grade student at North Strabane Intermediate School in Canon-McMillan. “I’m experiencing new teachers and new kids and a whole new school.”

Her mother, Joey Bane, is looking forward to the new school term, but knows it means she will be driving her daughters to sports and activities and waking them up early in the morning, after weeks of sleeping in.

“It’s kind of bittersweet. I do want them to go back to school, but when school starts up, I just know what’s ahead of me. It’s not only work for the kids, it’s equal work for the parents,” she said, laughing.

The earlier start to the school year (all schools start back before the Labor Day weekend) aims to reduce the gap between the end of one school year and the beginning of another, in order to keep students on task and reduce learning loss, local educators say.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.

“It’s also helpful because we have summer courses and programs, and (the early start date) gets students back in the classroom, which reinforces the things they’ve learned. And we have the long Labor Day weekend, so there’s a transition to the regular school year,” said Dr. Roberta DiLorenzo, superintendent of Washington School District.

Also, administrators are asking drivers to obey traffic laws in school zones during school hours. Drivers also are being asked to look out for school buses and flashing yellow or red lights.

Karen Mansfield is an award-winning journalist and mom of five who has been a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter since 1988. She enjoys reading, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a good glass of wine and nice people.

View More from this Author



blog comments powered by Disqus