Principals took to the microphone at the Edgemont School District’s first board meeting Sept. 10 to review unofficial enrollment numbers, back-to-school preparations completed over the summer and their first-day experiences.
Greenville Elementary School welcomed 549 students and 80 staff members on the first day of school, with 76 new kindergartners and 33 new students in other grades.
“After a summer that seemed to fly by, it was terrific to return to school and greet the many enthusiastic Greenville students and staff members,” said Greenville School Principal Jennifer Allen. “Our enrollment remains relatively consistent with that of prior years and while our largest class ever graduated this past year we are still up one section, with 29 sections in the building including ICAP.” ICAP is the district’s Intensive Communication Achievement Program, which serves students with significant communication disorders and/or an autism diagnosis.
According to Allen, new students have come from New York City, Westchester, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia and Florida, as well as from Switzerland, Brazil, Singapore, Kenya, India and China.
“We are very excited to welcome all of our new students and families into the Greenville and Edgemont community,” she said.
Over the summer, the Greenville School library underwent a renovation, which is nearly completed. A grant provided by the Edgemont School Foundation funded for the renovation; the foundation also provided tables, chairs and furniture for the library.
The school welcomed six general education teachers, two special education teachers and three teaching assistants.
“Many of our new teachers happen to be very involved in a lot of what we’ve been talking about as a district goal in terms of paying attention to the whole child,” said Allen. “That was really great to see.”
At Seely Place Elementary School, 514 students walked through the doors on the first day of school, and the community welcomed one new special education teacher, one teaching assistant, one general education teacher and one assistant principal to the building.
“We welcomed almost 40 new students this summer coming from as close as Greenville School to as far away as Croatia and Singapore,” said Seely Place Principal Eve Feuerstein.
Over the summer, the second floor of the school went through an asbestos abatement, which was completed well before teachers arrived to set up their classrooms.
“I think if we had taken a poll everyone would have said it would never be done in time,” said Feuerstein who is entering her second year as principal. “Not only was it done in time and the floors were redone and cleaned, the teachers were able to come back to set up their classrooms by Aug. 14. It was unbelievable.”
Over the summer Feuerstein and faculty also attended a conference where she heard two speakers discuss social justice and equity. Inspired by the speakers’ message of “all means all,” Feuerstein shared the sentiment with her students on opening day.
“I said to my students at the assembly, ‘All means all.’ We will respect you all, we will appreciate you all and we have one wish for you all and that wish is that you have an excellent year and find your own level of success whatever that level will be,” she said.
The Edgemont Junior/Senior High School welcomed 987 students on the first day, which included 26 new students and 167 seventh-graders.
“To help create a smooth transition to the Junior/Senior High School, we held a new family orientation in August for the 25 families new to Edgemont,” said Junior/Senior High School Principal Kyle Hosier.
The team of seventh-grade teachers formulated a three-day orientation for seventh -graders, which included “campus tours, community building activities and seminars like managing stress, how to handle conflicts with other students and tips on how to succeed in middle school,” said Hosier who is starting his second year as principal.
The school also introduced two special education teachers, a world language teacher, a physical education teacher, a math teacher and an art teacher.
Over the summer, custodians installed a ramp to the administration building, and the senior lounge was converted into a classroom space that has been renamed the “cafeteria annex.”
A new classroom was also created in the school library for student studying and teacher research.
“I speak on behalf of our entire Edgemont Junior/Senior High School administration team when I say Edgemont is a special place,” said Hosier. “We have a student body, community, faculty and staff that care deeply about education.”
Superintendent of Schools Victoria Kniewel confirmed there were 2,053 students on opening day, an increase of 13 students from last year.
“That is not yet our official number,” said Kniewel who added that the school uses a New York State enrollment system that bases student numbers on a date in October. “We will have an enrollment report in early fall to dig into that enrollment and also to start building that information around what our needs are for the upcoming capital projects.”