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Smooth start to the new school year

Susan Allen
Thurmont Dispatch

(9/4) Even a small shower around 8 a.m. could not dampen the spirits of students and staff in Emmitsburg as Frederick County schools re-opened on Aug. 25. By the time buses arrived—a little late---at Emmitsburg Elementary, the rain had stopped and the children who had walked to school were dried off. Principal Wanda Severance greeted each child at the front door while teachers waited in the cafeteria to welcome their students and lead them to their classrooms.

This pattern was repeated at the other northern county elementary schools, where principals, teachers, and secretaries reported a good start to the new school year.
Kate Krietz, principal of Thurmont Elementary School, called the day “an awesome beginning.”

There were no tears (and no bears in the trees) at Sabillasville Elementary. New bus numbers and new students contributed to minor late arrival problems throughout Frederick County schools; by mid-week those glitches had been put right.

Curriculum in elementary schools has not been changed from last year. However, countywide, students in kindergarten, first, and fourth grades will benefit from new technology resources in math.

At Catoctin High, 870 students are enrolled for the year. Principal Jack Newkirk outlined several programs designed “to meet the needs of all of our kids” as they prepare to meet graduation requirements. A third-block tutoring class has been set up for the “handful” of seniors who still need to pass their high school assessment tests. Tutoring will also be available during lunch periods. For the third year, ninth grade students may take part in the Cougar Achievement Academy to improve their study skills and receive homework support. This program has been very effective in reducing the number of students who have to repeat ninth-grade classes.

The Catoctin High “Marching Cougars” band is now an extracurricular fall activity. Laura Zolfor, a graduate of James Madison University, is their director. She met students at the August band camp and will teach music at Catoctin in the spring.

Some of Frederick County Schools’ top administrators visited local schools over the course of the first day. Associate Director of Elementary Schools Steve Martin arrived at Emmitsburg before the buses. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Linda Burgee came to Thurmont Elementary for a “walk-through” of the building shortly before lunch. Thurmont Middle School welcomed Ann Bonitatibus, Associate Director of Secondary Schools, at the close of the school day.

Students—375-strong—at Mother Seton School also returned to school on Aug. 25. Their opening schedule was set for half days on Aug. 25 and 26; regular classes began Aug. 27.

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