Archive for Thursday, August 25, 2005

Smooth start for schools

August 25, 2005

After a week of classes, the schools in the Baldwin School District have been adjusting to new books, new teachers and various minor details that always come at the beginning of each school year.

Mark Cation is enjoying his first year teaching fourth grade at the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center.

"This is awesome," Cation said. "It's a great change. I began teaching about 30 years ago, so this is a pretty exciting with a new building. This is wonderful, with great kids, a great school system and a great reputation."

BESIC Principal Tom Mundinger is glad that school has started again.

"It was kind of getting boring over the summer," Mundinger said. "I stayed busy during the summer, because there was plenty to do. But it's a lot nicer when people are in the building and the kids are here. I was glad to get going again. I can't believe this is our third year in the building. It seems like we just moved in."

The elementary schools have been adjusting to the new math series, Everyday Mathematics. BESIC fourth-grade teacher Cathy Maxon said the district has done a great job of providing the necessary materials, but the series will take time to get used to.

"I think the kids are going to like the series," Maxon said. "It's pretty comprehensive and it's different compared to what we had. I'm looking forward to it. But right now its taking a bit more time than we expected, but I think that's just because it is new."

Maxon knows why the series is hard at first for the children.

"It's still early yet, but I think they like it," Maxon said. "What's different for them is they have different books. They don't have a regular math book. They have three books they have to use. It's learning how to manage all of the different materials."

Baldwin High School started smoothly last Wednesday with its freshman orientation day.

"The freshman first day went real well," BHS Assistant Principal Bret Jones said. "We did a couple new things that day, like take freshman pictures. The freshmen really enjoyed the day without the pressure of the upperclassmen."

Jones said BHS is continuing to work on schedules for some students, while dealing with temperature problems the first few days.

"Our cooling system basically has a capacity to learn," Jones said. "It went all summer long with about 10 people in the building, and when you throw 525 people in the building, it didn't cool off as quickly as it should have. It did get a little warm in the building. I anticipate it should be fine."

BHS students have also had to deal with a few violations in the parking lot.

"We had our first parking violations," Jones said. "The senior class has initiated new parking rules with staff and senior parking. We had a couple students come in and learn the new rules the hard way. I thought that was somewhat humorous."

Baldwin Junior High School has also started off well, especially with its pool party Sunday for students, families and the staff.

"Things are going great and we had fun at our pool party Sunday," Principal Connie Wright said. "Our athletic programs are running and we are having a great start. I am excited to be back. It's always great to see the kids."

The buildings have seen minimal, if any, problems so far. BESIC has seen an influx of fifth graders, which has crowded the rooms a bit.

"Eleven of our new students were in the fifth grade," Mundinger said. "So our fifth grade picked up a lot of kids and they're a little bit more crowded than we would like. It isn't unbearable by any means, but larger than we would like."

Cation said he knows many people around the district, including Mundinger, and all of them have made him feel welcome.

"There are a lot of friendly people here," Cation said. "Mr. Mundinger and I went to high school together for a year. Mrs. Maxon has been awesome. Of course, my other teachers have helped me get adjusted. The secretarial staff is awesome. I love it here."

Jones said he is glad to back, and that everyone should be, if they are working in education.

"People in education, if they aren't happy when the kids show up, then I don't know what they're doing in education," Jones said. "That's what it's all about. It's always great to have the kids back."

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