Making it count: IES welcomes new school year, new theme

IES kindergarteners Tucker and Cooper hug their mother goodbye on the first day of school. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

IES kindergarteners Tucker and Cooper hug their mother goodbye on the first day of school. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—Jan Renfro’s Inverness Elementary School kindergarten classroom buzzed with excitement on Aug. 12, as students happily chatted during their first-ever kindergarten snack time.

“I’m excited to be here!” Rylie, one of Renfro’s kindergarten students exclaimed, while her classmates, Tucker and Cooper, proudly discussed their new lunch boxes.

“(For some) this is their first experience in school,” Renfro said. “They’re just so young, they love life and they love their teacher… I’ve taught for 18 years, and kindergarten is my favorite.”

Renfro’s kindergarteners were just a handful of the kindergarten through third grade students to arrive at IES for the first day of school on Aug. 12.

Students were welcomed at the door with hugs and high fives from IES Principal Christine Hoffman and Assistant Principal Jeff Norris, then parents were allowed to walk children to their classrooms.

Once in classrooms, teachers led students on tours of the school and through a variety of first day activities.

“This is the first day with students, but this is not the first day of the school year for teachers by any means,” Norris explained.

“All summer, the teachers have been up here working,” Hoffman added.

Throughout the summer, IES teachers attended professional development workshops, completed book studies, participated in team-building activities and readied their classrooms for the new school year.

The teachers’ hard work is evident. Carefully planned and decorated classroom doors and hallways greeted students as they walked through the school on their first day.

IES also held several events before school to make the first day easier for parents, students and teachers, including Meet the Teacher days and parent information sessions for each grade level.

“We try to make the beginning of school less about maintenance and more about fun,” Norris said. “Parents feel comfortable and teachers feel comfortable.”

The 2015-2016 theme at IES is, “180 days—make it count,” encouraging everyone in the IES community to give their all every day.

“Last year we did, ‘It’s a great day to have a good day,’” Hoffman said. “We thought this year, let’s make the whole year count.”