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Parishville-Hopkinton teachers eager and ready for students’ arrival

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PARISHVILLE - Thursday morning represents a new beginning, a fresh start, the first step in an unclear if not unknown path for many Parishville-Hopkinton students.

Students in the 18 school districts in the St. Lawrence - Lewis BOCES region return to school today. Teachers and spport staff started the 2013-14 scool year on Tuesday.

While many students have likely been enjoying their final days of summer vacation with some relaxation, teachers have been working hard to be as prepared as they can be for the new year. Their path may be as unclear as their students, but many instructors do have some expectations set for their classrooms.

For Title 1 reading teacher K-6 Rose Rivezzi, her summer was enjoyable but also included planning for the 2013-2014 school year.

“I think, like most teachers, you’re thinking about your classroom all summer long but more intensely the last few weeks. So for me, it was just thinking about the new groupings of students I’ll have, the changes I wanted to do going into the new school year, setting up my new group of interns. I’m lucky enough to have interns from the Potsdam State Master’s Reading program,” Ms. Rivezzi said. “So I have three new interns this year and so I’ve wanted to make sure that I knew the kinds of things I needed to do to work with them, get them ready. ... You know, you’re always thinking, you’re always thinking what you can do better, different, be more effective so all that kind of thought.”

She added that an important aspect of her classroom this year will be the expansion of the book room, which was developed last school year. The book room includes resources for teachers to have leveled, small group instruction with the students.

“Expanding the book room is a big thing that’s on my mind. I find that as where all of the teachers are looking at the new ELA modules more, I’m finding ways to see how I can maybe support them because obviously I need to work closely with them in servicing their students,” Ms. Rivezzi said. “So the modules are new on everybody’s mind and the new data driven instruction and interim assessments, that’s new on everybody’s mind. So just figuring out and helping them figure out how to go forward with those new initiatives.

Ms. Rivezzi also stressed the importance of students reading every night, particularly in the nonfiction genre. Most of the students who she works with have had trouble with independent motivation in reading books and she feels that making reading every night a priority will help immensely.

Like Ms. Rivezzi, first-grade teacher Lori White has seen portions of her summer spent in the school, readying for another year.

“I’ve been coming in periodically over the summer, and I’ve spent the last two weeks coming in just preparing the classroom,” Ms. White said. “I like to try to make a comfortable place for the students, but educational as well. So I put some time into how the arrangement of the desks are and what kinds of materials are available. ... I know we all spend a lot of time aligning the curriculum with the Common Core and implementing new math and ELA modules for the upcoming school year.”

Meanwhile, Michael Walter teaches seventh-grade Life Science, 10th grade Earth Science, and 12th grade Geology, and he is looking forward to some new material and activities in his classes, as well as some long standing ones.

“(It’s) different with Geology. There are field trips and college visits, those vary year to year. So (there are) different college visits and field trips,” Mr. Walter said. “The seventh-grade curriculum is about the same. Earth Science doesn’t start until the spring semester, so that whole course is wrapped up in almost like a college term.”

K-12 art teacher Miranda Brosell has been busy with unpacking art supplies, a process that she says takes nearly two full weeks.

“It’s usually the two weeks before we come back that you start coming in, mostly because we get all our art supplies out,” Ms. Brosell said. “We come in and get that all unpacked. There are two art teachers so I need to divvy out what he ordered and what I ordered, so that takes a while.”

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