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'Smooth' is the word of the day as Pa. schools open

August 29, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - "Smooth" was the word most frequently used by Franklin County, Pa., school district officials in describing operations on the first day of the 2006-07 academic year.

"The tech center people say it was one of the smoothest openings they had," said Joseph Padasak, superintendent of the Chambersburg Area School District, where about 8,000 students were expected to start the year. His district sent 500 students to a new program there that couples academic and vocational classes.

Padasak and other county superintendents said they visited most, if not all, schools in their districts Monday.

Tuscarora Curriculum Director Bonnie Sponseller spoke to Superintendent Thomas Stapleford midday as he traveled between schools.

"He reports that we had another smooth startup this school year," she said.

"We had a really positive start to the school year," Waynesboro Superintendent Barry Dallara said. His district was anticipating 4,200 students to start the year.

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Greencastle-Antrim Superintendent P. Duff Rearick said he hoped to continue with the smooth, safe operations launched Monday. Rearick had said he expected about 3,000 students to start the year.

Several districts reported minor, average transportation problems, like students getting onto the wrong buses.

No children cried in at least two elementary school buildings in Tuscarora School District, Sponseller said.

"I had some criers. We have that with half-day kindergarten, too," Montgomery Elementary School teacher Tia Piper said. A 12-year veteran with the district, she and others made the switch to all-day kindergarten for 2006-07.

The all-day format allowed the first day of school to be more relaxed, Piper said.

"The first day, as with any day, is (traditionally) rushed, trying to get all the routines through," Piper said. The afternoon was spent painting and in story time, she said.

In Fulton County, Pa., Southern Fulton School District starts today, while the Central Fulton and Forbes Road school districts start Wednesday.

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