Area principals say efforts before the first day of school for Wake County traditional calendar students helped everything go smoothly once the day arrived on Monday, Aug. 29.
Tad Sherman, principal of Wakelon Elementary in Zebulon, said a good turnout on “Meet the Teacher” day on the Friday before school started, got the school off to a good start. Of about 500 total students, 323 showed up for Friday’s event, or 65 percent. “They’ve already navigated through the school and met their teachers,” Sherman said.
“It was very, very smooth,” Sherman said. “Probably one of the smoothest first days we’ve had. The buses were all on time.”
The school was able to serve more than 400 breakfasts before the starting bell, Sherman said.
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Dr. Jim Argent, principal of Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design said he had more than 50 teachers take part in a program over the summer focused on project-based learning, a key component of the redesign that took effect at the school at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year. “I feel good about where we’re headed instructionally,” Argent said.
The school is starting 40 minutes earlier this year than last, with the opening bell now at 7:25 a.m., but Argent said the switch didn’t cause any issues on the first day. “I’m really excited about how quickly our students are adjusting, and we didn’t have many first-period tardies,” he said.
The school had 1,689 students report to class on the first day, Argent said, and enrollment typically goes up over the first few days.
On the other side of the coin, Robert Morrison, principal of Wendell Middle School, said about 10 to 20 parents showed up early with their children after the school switched to a 45-minute later start time this year. “They were very appreciative of our welcoming them in,” Morrision said. “Some of them decided to stay with their children until we officially opened. Some of them left.”
Morrison said 920 students showed up the first day and he expects enrollment to grow to about 950.
Wendell Magnet Elementary School literally rolled out the red carpet for its students, covering the main entrance walkway with a long red rug. The school also set up a “photo booth” with a backdrop welcoming students so that every one of them could get a picture of their first day.
Principal Shane Barham said 539 students came to school on the first day of class, 50 more than expected. “For us to have 50 extra kids, everything went well considering,” he said.
Barham said the only difficulty school officials encountered was with some carpooling parents who were running late after having to pick up other children later than last year at Wendell Middle, which now ends its day at 3, the same as Wendell Elementary.
East Wake High School is trying something new with its freshmen this year, putting all their classes on the same hall. Principal Stacey Alston said it helps the students adjust from middle school to high school and encourages more collaboration between teachers.
Alston said 1,336 students showed up Monday, with more than 1,400 expected when enrollment hits its peak.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826