Related story: For Frederick teachers, it was a giddy first day, too
Six-year-old Emily Price did not need her mom to wake her up for the first day of school.
On Monday — her first day as a first-grader at North Frederick Elementary School — Emily, who is enrolled in the school’s magnet program, was so excited that she was almost out the door almost two hours early, her mother Cari Price said.
“She was standing in my room dressed down to her shoes at six this morning,” Price said.
School begins at 8:20 a.m.
“She could not wait to come in,” Price added, as she waited for her daughter to appear among a crowd of smiling faces at the end of the first school day.
With a lot excitement and only a few minor glitches, Frederick County schools started a new school year on Monday.
On the first day of school, all of Frederick County’s 66 schools opened on time, welcoming more than 41,000 students to kick off the 2012-13 academic year.
“Every single one of our schools has reported a great start,” said Michael Doerrer, spokesman for the school system.
“We’ve gotten a couple of reports of school buses running behind schedules. But that is one of the normal things that happen on the first day,” Doerrer said.
Due to police activity in the area, Lincoln Elementary School in Frederick was on lockdown briefly around 11 a.m.
“We had an apartment robbery that we ended up making an arrest on,” said Lt. Clark Pennington, spokesman for the Frederick Police Department.
Although there was no immediate threat to students, police asked the school to take precautionary measures, Pennington said.
The lockdown only lasted a few minutes and did not dampen the excitement from reopening for the first time after a long-awaited $29-million renovation, Doerrer said.
“It had nothing to do with the school,” he said. “Most of the students didn’t even notice.”
Prepared for the usual first-day-of-school glitches, educators around the county were working hard to ensure that students were being engaged from the minute they walked back into their classrooms.
At Carroll Creek Montessori Charter School in Frederick — which opened for the first time this year — teachers had to start without computers because of an unexpected delivery delay.
But that did not affect classroom instruction. The kindergarteners were drawing, working on projects and learning the basic rules of a Montessori classroom.
Using tiny green and blue brushes and dustpans, lead teacher Natalie Morris showed her kindergarteners how to clean up after having lunch. The lesson was about showing respect to others — a crucial pillar of the hands-on Montessori methodology, which is focused on community service, Morris said.
“We teach them to be as independent as possible,” she said.
A former teacher at the Monocacy Valley Montessori Public Charter School, Morris said she was thrilled about the first day at her new school, which was also her first day as a lead classroom teacher.
“It’s a wonderful energy,” she said. “I am so excited, I was hardly able to sleep last night.”
The school opened its doors with 100 students in kindergarten through second grade. Another 30 students ages 3 and 4 will start pre-kindergarten later in the week, said Principal Giuseppe Di Monte, who thanked parents for their efforts in helping to open the new school.
While the first school day brought excitement for students and teachers, it was also an emotional time for principals, some of whom switched schools over the summer.
The biggest change in administrators this year is at Frederick High School, which has a new principal for the first time in 28 years.
Kathy Campagnoli, the former principal at Urbana High School, is now the principal at Frederick High, replacing the school’s longtime Principal Denise Fargo-Devine, who this year will serve as principal at Middletown High.
“I am just hoping that they will give me a fair chance,” said Campagnoli, who has been working through the summer to prepare for her new role and responsibilities, as she sat in her new office on the first day of school. “It is going to take time to build relationships with people.”
An experienced educator, Campagnoli started her career as a student teacher at Frederick High 32 years ago. While she said she misses her Urbana High family, she said she was excited to take on her new role and responsibilities.
“I feel like I’ve gone full circle,” Campagnoli said. “I feel like I have come home.”
With the upcoming feasibility study that prepares the school for a major modernization, Campagnoli already spent the summer soliciting input from the community and making sure that parents and students stay involved in the process.
“The school is not the building, it is the people,” she said. “I want to make people proud.”