Teachers team up for new school year at Inverness Elementary

NORTH SHELBY – Like students, new teachers experience their share of anxiousness on the first day of school.

Fortunately for first-year third grade teacher Kaitlyn Harkins, she is working closely with 26-year teaching veteran Ashley Beavers at Inverness Elementary School.

Harkins and Beavers are one of several pairs of third grade teachers at the school utilizing a “team teaching” approach in which students are in one classroom for half the day to learn certain subjects and then swap classes for the other subjects.

The arrangement allows the teachers to focus on a smaller number of subjects, Beavers and Harkins said. In this case, Beavers teaches math and science subjects, and Harkins teaches reading and writing subjects.

“We’re very excited,” said Beavers, a Chelsea resident who has taught third grade for all 26 of her years at Inverness Elementary.

Harkins, meanwhile, is a graduate of Chelsea High School and UAB.

“It’s been good,” she said of the start of her first school year. “Having my own class is surreal.”

Principal Christine Hoffman, who started her 13th year at Inverness, said the school’s first day came with the usual share of challenges—including students enrolling after and a water leak out front of the school.

But Hoffman also stressed the support the school’s administration and teachers enjoy from parents, community and the Parent Teacher Organization.

IES continues to build on its Everyday GREAT (Grit, Respect, Empathy, Adventure and Teamwork) program with this year’s theme: Choose Kind Every Day.

“We really wanted to focus on kindness,” Hoffman said.

For teachers, the focus is “communicating with parents, collaboration with peers and connection with students.”

While some students eased into their school routines for the first time of their young lives, others, such as the third graders in Beavers’ and Harkins’ classes, felt slightly more prepared.

Cross Coppock transferred to Inverness during his second grade year and said he was glad this year “that I know some people in my class.”

Though classmate Eyannah Jenkins has been attending IES since kindergarten, she said she was still excited to be “making new friends.”