The first day-welcomed by parents and dreaded by kids-has come and gone. The school year has started, but the legacy of last year still plagues Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, with a host of problems on his plate as he ensures that the more than 1 million public school students across the five boroughs get the best possible education experience and that school operations run smoothly.
The Amsterdam News talked with a few New York City school students about their thoughts on how the 2011-2012 school year kicked off.
“I really enjoyed my first day of school because I got to meet my new teacher and see how the school year was going to work. It really helped me plan out how the school year was going to be and how I should organize my time,” said eighth grader Daria Forde, who attends Mott Hall II Middle School in Manhattan. “I enjoyed it because of my new teachers. I already had a good relationship with them before I came to the eighth grade. I get to be in their class and see what I’ll be learning during the school year.
“I was excited to see my friends. This is going to be my last year with most of my friends. I should just enjoy my time with them. I completed everything that I needed to do over the summer so there were no glitches. No complaints about the first day,” said Daria.
Ten-year-old elementary school student Nosayaba Odesanya of Brooklyn said, “My first day of school was exciting! I couldn’t wait until I united with my friends and my old teachers. I was looking forward to meet my new teachers and class. I was happy that I fell in love with my new teacher. Therefore, my first day of school was exciting.”
Nosayaba’s sister, Olayemi Odesanya, 13, is an eighth grade junior high school student. “My first day of school was a lot of fun! When I got there, I felt famous. I knew most of the people besides the new incomers in the sixth grade,” Olayemi said. “I notice that a lot of kids didn’t want to go back to school. You can see most of the kids who got left back were shocked and their friends were too!
“Everyone wanted to chat and talk about things, like why the school is now blue, but all I want to do is make sure I’m graduating with my fellow eighth grade mates.”
First grader Stephanie Reed had a great first day at the Nightingale-Bamford all-girls school. “It was good because we had my favorite lunch: tacos, rice and meat. We went to the roof. I played games with my friends,” she said.
“There’s a playground with monkey bars and a big space that you just swing across. I like my new teacher, Ms. Shen. It’s great to be in first grade. I get to do a lot more things than in kindergarten,” Stephanie added. “I have English and that’s something that I did not have in kindergarten. There are a lot of kids in my class and some of them were in another class that I had last year. I was happy to see them.
“I already had science, but this time I have a different teacher. We get to teach her about Nightingale and she gets to teach us about science. Right now we’re setting up our notebooks for when we do science.”
What’s she looking forward to the most? “When I get a cupcake for my birthday. That’s my favorite part of Nightingale,” the 6-and-a-half-year-old said.
Seven-year-old Sachin Perna attends Success Academy One. He started school on Aug. 22. “The first day of school was about reviewing what you were doing in the middle of first grade. The best part was that all the new people were in the class and there were a lot of people that I knew. My teachers are nice, Ms. Scott and Ms. Palermo. I like that they are really nice and they give you two chances until you get it right.
“There were a lot of kids and five new kids. There’s 31 kids. The only bad thing was that we didn’t go on the big playground for recess because the fifth and fourth grade were using it.
“The first day we only got one page of homework. Now I’m getting two pages a day and they’re giving me all the easy stuff. I have to read chapter books for 30 minutes and non-chapter books for 20 minutes. School is good,” Sachin concluded.
These kids give the new school year a big thumbs up. Let’s hope the rest of the school year is just as good for our children.