With a fresh-faced group of second graders packed around her SMART Board on the first day of school Monday, East Elementary School library media specialist Cindy Pass introduced the new arrivals to the school’s recently-unveiled media center.
This is definitely not the library most parents would remember from their days in school.
Flanked by dozens of laptops, shelves of books and a cushy couch in a reading area that seems lifted from a coffee house corner, the kids seemed overwhelmed but intrigued.
“I’m going to teach you something today,” Pass told the class, as she tapped the SMART Board to reveal the genre of the month — fiction.
The new media center has been in the works for much of the past year, and now features everything from computer workstations to an online book reference library that can be browsed from home by category or author — all depending on the student’s age and savvy.
Children are also being trained to check out their own books, a new tactic principal David Wiggins said is just one more way to teach students to learn responsibility.
“We’re shifting from teacher-centered, to child-centered, which is really how it should be,” he said.
The first day of the 2012-2013 school year went well for both Cullman County and Cullman City systems, which kicked off in unison Monday following a state law passed this summer requiring schools to start no sooner than Aug. 20.
“It went great, and I got out to a number of schools, and it was a great first day for us,” Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) Superintendent Billy Coleman said. “The first day always has its own set of challenges, and the coordination to pick up those thousands of kids is just amazing. But, Mr. Floyd and our transportation department do a tremendous job, and it’s gone very well. We were blessed with great weather and it has just been a phenomenal day.”
Dr. Jan Harris, superintendent of Cullman City Schools, said the city system also had a smooth day, despite the usual traffic issues due to the landlocked layout of the system.
”We had a wonderful day in all of our schools, and children seemed excited to be back,” she said. “The traffic flow went fairly well, though the first day always has some challenges. But, we were very pleased with the outcome, and getting everyone into a routine.”
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.