Summer’s almost over

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – Even though students do not return until next week, schools across the River Parishes were buzzing with activity this week as teachers prepare for the start of school.

In St. John the Baptist Parish, the official first day for teachers was Aug. 3, but many returned earlier to get a head start on preparations.

For teachers at LaPlace’s Emily C. Watkins, Monday began a week of workshops and meetings to get the school ready. The school had a little more work to do than most as it continues its yearly expansion. Started as a K-5 school, the school is adding a grade level every year until it is a full-fledged K-8 institution. This year, teachers and administrators had to figure out how to add seventh-grade classroom without disrupting the flow and structure of the school.

“It was truly a challenge in the summertime,” said Principal Toni Robinet. “It’s been a busy start but a good start.”

She said the faculty and staff managed to create space for the extra grade level and even planned for next year’s addition of eighth grade.

“We’re pretty much getting to capacity now,” she said.

Even with all the rearranging, Robinet said grade levels have been kept together.

“We had a lot of good teacher input to do that,” she said.

The faculty and staff at the school are not the only ones who have been busy on the campus. The school’s partners in education at ArcelorMittal have also been building cubbies and creating areas of shade outside.

Public school students in St. John Parish return Monday, with the exception of new freshmen at East St. John High School, who return Tuesday. Students in St. James Parish also return Monday, while in St. Charles Parish student can enjoy a few more days of summer, returning to class Thursday.