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The Times
  • Herkimer Co. students head back to school

  • As kindergarten classes convened for lunch in the cafetorium at Herkimer Elementary School on Wednesday, two of their teachers talked about the significance of the day.

    “It’s the first day of their educational careers,” said Melody Couchman, who has taught kindergarten for 23 years. “They come here from all different places and backgrounds.”

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  • As kindergarten classes convened for lunch in the cafetorium at Herkimer Elementary School on Wednesday, two of their teachers talked about the significance of the day.
    “It’s the first day of their educational careers,” said Melody Couchman, who has taught kindergarten for 23 years. “They come here from all different places and backgrounds.”
    Both said the first-time students can be faced with some challenges during the first day of school since it presents them with a different routine.
    “It’s a long day. It’s a full day,” said Couchman.
    “It’s very academic,” added Sarah Ward, another kindergarten teacher at the school.
    “It’s not just playtime any more. There’s no naptime. It’s an adjustment for them,” said Couchman.
    Both teachers also spoke about the emotions that come with kindergartners on the first day of school. “Some are really nervous. Some are so excited to be here,” said Ward.
    Kindergartners had gathered in the cafetorium earlier in the day to have one final picture taken with parents and a chance to say good-bye before starting their first full day of school. An orientation took place last week so students and parents can get a better feel for the school, which Couchman said eases the transition.
    “It’s been an amazing first day,” she said.
    “It’s been an extremely smooth opening,” said Herkimer Elementary School Principal Kathy Carney. “There were a lot of kindergarten parents here to wish their kids well and to send them off.”
    Carney added, “Overall the feeling was excitement and we’re ready to return.”
    Schools were back in session across Herkimer County on Wednesday, including Dolgeville Elementary School where students in Michelle Excell’s fourth-grade classroom talked about their emotions on the first day.
    “I didn’t fall asleep last night I was so excited,” said Nevaeh Williamson. She said she was nervous about meeting her new teacher because she did not know whether she was going to be mean or nice.
    Tanner King felt the same way. “When I woke up this morning I didn’t want to get out of bed,” he said. “I didn’t know if she was going to be mean, nice or weird.”
    Both students, however, said they approved of their teacher.
    Kathy Perkins, another fourth-grade teacher at Dolgeville Elementary School, taught her students about the word “care,” saying “C” is for “Cooperative, Courteous;” “A” is for “good Attitude, good Attendance;” “R” is for “Respect for others, Respect for staff;” and “E” is for “Effort.”
    Students in her class talked about ways to be respectful, for example, such as not spreading rumors about people and to not interrupt people.
    Dolgeville Elementary School Principal Sue Butler echoed Carney’s feelings on the first day, which included orientation for kindergartners. “It had a very smooth start,” she said.

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