Back to school: Helena teachers and administrators discuss first day of school

Published 12:29 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Helena Elementary School students lined the hallways on Wednesday, Aug. 12 for the first day back at school. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

Helena Elementary School students lined the hallways on Wednesday, Aug. 12 for the first day back at school. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–New outfits, clean hallways and some smiles and frowns can be seen on students’ faces depending on what grade level.

There were mostly smiles and excitement seen on the morning of Aug. 12 at Helena Elementary School as numerous kindergarteners lined the hallways and formed straight lines as teachers instructed the little students where to go on the first day.

“I would say that things have gone pretty smoothly so far today,” said Helena Elementary School Principal Mary Cooper.

Cooper is entering her fifteenth year as HES principal and said it’s always fun to see the new and returning faces.

HES special education teacher Mandie Gibbs agreed that one of her favorite things about the first day of school is just to see the kids again.

“I like the excitement and meeting the new kids and just seeing all the kids outfits,” said Gibbs.

Down the road, Helena High School administrators, teachers and students were settling in for the school’s second school year.

Helena High School Principal April Brand is entering her first year as the school’s principal and said the goal was to make the first day seem as normal as possible.

“We try to make the first day as normal a school day as possible,” said Brand. “We went to homeroom briefly to pick up student schedules and we are already into our regular bell schedule. It has gone very, very smoothly.”

Brand served as Helena High School’s assistant principal last year and said that the biggest difference between last year and this year is that students are now more familiar with the building and where to be.

“I would say there was a little bit of a difference from last year because the vast majority of our students were very familiar with the school building and where the classrooms are located,” said Brand. “Last year was different, because you didn’t know the building well but this year they know the teachers, they know where the classrooms are and it’s really just making sure that our freshmen get the lay out of the building on that first and second day.”

Brand credited the HHS peer helpers for assisting the underclassmen on where to be and really helping out on the first day of school.

“We try to work with them and put our peer helpers in the hallways on the first day to help direct traffic,” said Brand. “Our peer helpers serve the school and help get students where they need to be on that first day.”