With 15-foot sunflowers in their garden, students Kiley and Kathryn Harrington knew that had the perfect gift for their new teachers in a new school.
So Tuesday morning, the girls, who recenty moved with their family from Granby, picked the sunflowers for their teachers.
“They’re very thoughtful that way,” said their mother Kristie Gonsalves. “It was all their idea.”
They nearly missed the bus when the flowers hid them from their driver’s view but Gonsalves was able to catch it.
At the school, the girls brought the flowers to their classrooms.
“What a cheerful way to start the year,” said Carol Cable, first-grade teacher and flower recipient. “Everyone was impressed that Katie had grown it in her garden.”
Overall, the first day was off to a smooth start, Superintendent Kevin Case said late Wednesday morning.
“Opening Day went very well today,” Case said. “I had the pleasure of visiting each of the schools. All of the students seemed happy to be back in school and our staff is excited to begin a new school year.”
Although numbers are not official until Oct. 1, approximately 1,770 students pre-K to 12th grade came to Canton schools Wednesday.
As students return, they will see a few changes, some of which Case shared with Board of Education members Tuesday night.
New this year, for example, is the wireless environment at the Canton Middle/High School.
“It is working very well,” Case said. “Every middle and high-school teacher now has a laptop, which will give them greater flexibility to move throughout the building.”
He also said the school is working to smooth the transition as more students will also have their own or access to wireless devices.
Over at Canton Intermediate School, one change involves the outside of the building, as the replacement of windows in the older section of the building is nearly complete.
“Inside and out, the building really, really is looking nice,” he said.
At Canton Intermediate School, officials hope to continue a breakfast program that began last year.
Last year the price was $1 and Whitsons Culinary Group ended up losing $1,000 on the program.
While that will not be charged to the schools, Whitsons proposed raising the price to $1.75. The board, however, agreed with Case’s proposal to see if the company is willing to offer breakfast for $1.50 on a trial basis. The school will also work harder to ensure more students on the free and reduced lunch program take advantage of it, Case added.
“I feel very strongly that we should continue with that program,” Sase said, adding that the goal is to still bring it to Cherry Brook as well.
The Farmington Valley YMCA is also starting its before- and after-school program with just two students, Case said.
The program, which extends the day to 6 p.m., offers art, science enrichment as well as homework help. Price structure is based on frequency and those interested can contact Michael R. Garcia at email@example.com for more details.
There are a few staffing changes at the schools as well. In addition to a handful of new teachers, one substantial change is the addition of an Elementary Education chairperson, who will assist principals at Cherry Brook and Canton Intermediate School.
Although not unanimous, the position was approved by the board last spring. Lisa Deltano will take over those duties but will also still retain her duties as K to 6 math coordinator.
The schools also have an intense focus on continuing to strengthen offerings in conjunction with state standards and prepare for a new system of computerized testing, which in the Spring of 2015 will replace the CMT and CAPT tests, Case said.
Also Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jordan Grossman presented a detailed analysis of the 2012 CMT and CAPT scores.
Those reports can be viewed under the “District News” section at http://www.cantonschools.org.