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First day of school 'smooth' in Waynesboro, Pa.

The district has 4,200 students and 18 new staff members

August 27, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Waynesboro Area Middle School Principal Aaron Taylor talks to students in the cafeteria Monday during lunch on the first day of school.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — In the years he spent working with elementary school students, Aaron Taylor grew accustomed to seeing tears on the first day of school.

But, as the new principal of Waynesboro Area Middle School, Taylor saw those tears and jitters replaced when classes started Monday. The older students had reunions with classmates, questions about schedules, enthusiasm, and an occasional grumble.

“For the first day, it was very smooth,” Taylor said.

Waynesboro Area School District Superintendent Sherian Diller said she visited every school throughout the day as students started the 2012-13 academic year.

“It went very smooth. We are most pleased,” she said.

Staff from Fairview Elementary School lined the street during arrivals and dismissals because of an unfinished sidewalk project. Curb work means pedestrians must walk on the street in some sections.

Students will be assisted on Fairview Avenue as long as the work continues, Diller said.

Logan Weibley, 12, said he had some hesitation about getting out of bed in the morning to re-enter the school routine. As a seventh-grader, Logan experienced some nervousness about starting middle school.

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“I was kind of nervous, but I think the teachers really helped me along,” Logan said.

“I was pretty excited, actually. ... I was excited to see all my friends, and I have a lot of new people on my team, so I was excited to meet everyone and meet all my teachers,” said Madeline Eberhardt, a 13-year-old eighth-grader.

Waynesboro Area Middle School students have a new schedule format for the coming year. They will have 80 minutes daily of both math and English language arts, so they can work on individual growth and Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores.

A new, 30-day course in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is designed to take academic knowledge and couple it with hands-on scenarios. Taylor said the program strives to show real-life applications for what is learned in textbooks.

“We’re going to do some really cool things in it,” he said.

Catharine Weber, 13, said students gain more opportunities in each new grade. She is now in eighth grade.

“Being in eighth grade, it’s a lot different than seventh grade. You have a lot more, I don’t want to say more freedom, but the teachers trust you more now than they did in seventh grade,” said Brock Persons, a 14-year-old in eighth grade.

Taylor said the middle school will be further implementing the “School-Wide Positive Behavior Support” program to reinforce good behavior among students, who can earn rewards when spotted demonstrating good character. The program in place in the elementary schools will be rolled out fully in the 2013-14 school year at the middle school.

The district has 4,200 students and 18 new staff members, Diller said.

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