The Lake Placid and Keene school communities will see a lot of new faces when classes start Thursday.
The Lake Placid Central School District has several new administrators, including interim principals in the middle and high schools, as well as a new guidance counselor for grades 10 through 12. The district has also hired several new teachers and implemented new technology in many of its classrooms.
The biggest change at Keene Central School is the addition of a new principal, and the school's superintendent will no longer be in the building full-time.
The middle-high school will be led by a pair of interim principals as the district continues its search for a permanent one. Greg Camelo was hired as interim high school principal at the beginning of the summer, and shortly after that the district's Board of Education appointed Rick Retrosi as interim middle school principal.
Camelo said there weren't any significant changes to the building itself over the summer, just routine cleaning and some minor construction in some of the classrooms. He added that he's excited for school to get under way.
"We're looking forward to Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with our faculty and staff," Camelo said last week.
Camelo said about 85 percent of the student body attended Locker Day on Wednesday to get their locker numbers and class schedules. He said he and Retrosi had a chance to meet with parents and students, too.
There are quite a few new staff members, as well as staffing changes, including Michael Bringley teaching seventh- and eighth-grade science; Frank Brunner, chemistry and physics; Marisol Caban, high school Spanish; Elizabeth Cooke, long-term guidance counselor substitute, grades 6 through 9; Mona Dixon, grade 3; Cara Eisley, high school French; Jon Fremante, interim technology; Matthew Walentuk, grade 7 math and grade 6 computers; and Connie Whalen, guidance counselor, grades 10 through 12.
Retrosi said family and career sciences will be taught by foreign language teachers this year. At the seventh-grade level, the classes will explore the role of students in a community. The focus will be on community service and the class will culminate with a service project in conjunction with the Tri-Lakes Humane Society.
Grade 7 is significantly larger than grades 6 and 8, Retrosi noted. The class has 71 students this year, as opposed to 52 in grade 6 and 49 in grade 8. Retrosi said an eighth grade alternative education teacher will be used to teach a fourth section in seventh grade "to keep classes smaller, offer a slower pace to a number of students, and (provide) lots of individualized attention."
The district will also implement a number of new state Department of Education initiatives, including the Dignity for All Students Act, the Annual Professional Performance Review Program, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act and national Common Core Learning Standards.
At the elementary school, classrooms will get new computer hardware, and computer and library instruction will be integrated into classroom instruction. The middle-high school has a new Tandberg High Definition Unit and a new mobile lab laptop computer cart.
Classes start at 8:25 a.m. Thursday at the elementary school; construction continues on Old Military Road, so parents should plan their commutes accordingly. At the middle-high school, classes start at 7:35 a.m.
Superintendent Randy Richards urged parents to use the drop-off loop rather than pull into the parking lot directly in front of the elementary school. The road for the drop-off loop is located to the right of the main entrance when facing the school.
Richards also told parents in Wilmington to expect delays on the bus route that travels on state Route 86 through Wilmington Notch, where the state Department of Transportation is repaving the highway.
Dan Mayberry is ready to take on a new challenge. The former assistant principal at Lake Placid Middle-High School became principal at KCS this summer, taking on many of Superintendent Cynthia Ford-Johnston's former duties. Ford-Johnston will be in the building a few days a week to handle things like labor relations and school finances.
"I'm really looking forward to having the students and all of the faculty back in the building," Mayberry said. "Schools have a fantastic vibe when they're full of people, and that's something that just is not the same in the summertime when no one is here."
Keene also has a new elementary school teacher this year, Donna Sawyer. The school also has an international student program which includes six foreign students.
The school hosts "Falling Back Into Place" today. Mayberry said the back-to-school event includes orientation for high school students at 3:45 p.m. Elementary orientation will take place at 5:30 p.m., followed by a celebratory picnic for all students, faculty and parents at 6:15 p.m.
Bus routes and classrooms haven't changed since last year, Mayberry added.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.