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Picture Perfect Start to School Year | Schools

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Picture Perfect Start to School Year
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With cameras in hand, parents came to St. Andrew’s Country Day School today (Sept. 7) as the Kenmore elementary school opened its doors for another year of reading, ’riting and ’rithmatic. While the poparazzi and mamarazzi snapped photos, Principal Dennis Welka and St. Andrew’s pastor, Msgr. Richard Siepka, welcomed the new and returning students.

Parents admitted to be nervous and anxious for their kids, especially those starting kindergarten. Many are already familiar with the school from having attended pre-K there, so aside from attending a full five days a week, it’s not too big a change for the wee ones.  “I like the small atmosphere. I like the Catholic education. And he just enjoys being here. That helps it,” said Lucia Gullo, mother of 5-year-old Antonio.

Marisa Valentine, mother of Makayla, also a kindergartner, agrees that the small class size makes a big difference in education. A teacher herself, Valentine has seen 20 to 25 kids in her special education class at Sidway Elementary School on Grand Island. “(Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Csizmar) has 11 kids this year, so (Makayla) will definitely get the personal attention she needs.”

St. Andrew’s, which introduced the Modern Socratic Method of teaching four years ago, has added the latest in electronic technology to its education program for its 300 students.

“This year every classroom is outfitted with Smartboards,” said Principal Welka. “We have subscribed to a new program called ‘MindWare Brain Safari.’ It’s an interactive program that students in grades three through eight will all be enrolled in. It’s there to stimulate creative thinking and problem solving. It was very highly recommended. That will dovetail with the Modern Socratic Program.”

Even though it’s only the first day, Welka said things are going smoothly. The same can be said for the parents. After Juanita Rivera dropped off her 5-year-old, Cecelia, she mentioned how comfortable she felt leaving her in a new school.

“It feels good here. It feels like I’m leaving her in a safe place. It feels good.”

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