New School Year
The better than 5,500 children in Kiryas Joel’s private school system started the new school year Thursday September 2. Their excited chatter carried clear across the village as they eagerly shared with their friends and classmates their summer experiences. The children’s return to school went off without a hitch parents, principals and teachers alike agreed. The bus drivers who are familiar with layout of the village also confirmed that it all worked like clockwork.

 It was especially interesting to observe how the new first-graders smoothly took to the school routine without tears or fears but with bright-eyed excitement, the principals of both the boys and the girls’ schools, commented. “It is so nice to see how easily the new first-graders take to the school rules. Frankly, the first day of school is what I enjoy most of the entire school year,” the principal said.

Heading in to the kitchen it was amazing to see how the entire kitchen staff was abuzz. It was as if there never was a summer break. All employees knew exactly what was required of them and they delivered. The manager explained that the kitchen served close to three thousand breakfasts and three thousand lunches every day. And since the dining room could not accommodate all the children at once he instituted staggered breakfast and lunch schedules. “Essentially, my staff clean and reset the dining room six times a day,” he explained. He went on to say; “it’s hard work but the bright smiles on the children’s faces and the respectful way they behave makes it all worthwhile.

The overall impression was that the children and the teachers both seemed happy to be reunited and ready to get back to work after the long summer vacation.

In the Kiryas Joel School District public school (KJSD), home to 250 handicapped special students, was also humming with activity. Many of its students may have been on summer vacation but not its staff. At KJSD the staff was busily updating the curriculum and familiarizing themselves with new federal and state regulations so that they meet the students fully prepared.

"The exciting atmosphere in the KJSD building was palpable. The special students, each with their own unique way of expressing themselves let the staff know in no uncertain terms that they were glad to be back. It was heartwarming to observe the tears in the eyes of some staffers as they hugged and were hugged in return by the special students they so deeply care for.

Although the writer of this column did not receive an official enrollment count from school administrators the overall numbers discussed by the fleet manager of the KJSD which provides Transportation for public and private schools was in the range of 6,000, a 3.5% enrollment increase over last year. As I rode with Juda, one of the district bus drivers, he pointed out to me school buildings under construction saying; “this building will house next year’s first graders of the girls school.” He rounded another bend and he once again pointed to building under construction saying; “and this will be home for the first graders of the boys school.”

From the smooth and comfortable way Kiryas Joel schools pulled off the first day of school it was obvious to all that a lot of good planning on everyone's part made it all possible. As I headed to my car, ready to leave the village, a gentlemen approached me for a friendly chat, “so what do you think of the smooth school opening you just witnessed,” he asked. And I told him what I already told you in this column, I was impressed how it all went off without a hitch.

 


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