A new school year begins
TOM VAUGHT | SUN
At right, first-grade teacher Toni Lashway decorates
the bulletin board outside her classroom while setting
up her room for the new school year. Lauren Waite,
who is teaching at an international school in Rome,
watches. Waite will teach in Italy another year and
return to AME next school year.
HOLMES BEACH – Teachers are coming in to get their classrooms ready for the new school year at Anna Maria Elementary, and it all begins with a back to school open house on Thursday, Aug. 15, for students and their parents to meet their teachers and get acquainted with their new classrooms.
As before, the open house is divided into two gatherings – from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. for kindergarten through second grade and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for third- through fifth-grade students.
There will be grade-specific school supply packages for sale in the cafeteria, thanks to the PTO, and the Anna Maria Island Community Center will have representatives there to sign up kids for before- and after-school programs. The scouting groups are expected to be there to sign up new members, and this year, the Island Branch Library will have somebody there to talk about what it has to offer for students. Of course, the Anna Maria Elementary PTO will also be there to recruit parents.
One thing new district-wide is an app available for smart phones so users can find out what’s on the menu for breakfast and lunch.
Parents, especially those new to the school, are urged to come to find out what is expected of their children and how they can become involved in the process.
One of the most important aspects of the start of the school year involves keeping track of enrollment and the official count comes 10 days after school starts. School Superintendent Rick Mills urges parent of unregistered children enroll them as soon as possible to avoid the last minute rush and so the school staff has a better idea of the number of teachers needed.
As for the budget crisis that led to some layoffs, AME Principal David Marshall said he would wait until the 10-day official student count to see if it qualifies for one more teaching position. If so, Sally Jackson, who is slated to become the gym teacher this year, will be moved to the open teaching position and Eric Boso, if he is still available, will be hired to the position.
Boso had been interviewing with other schools after Marshall announced he would be cut as a result of the emergency budget cuts enacted shortly before the end of the previous school year. The PTO has been looking at ways to raise money to pay for Boso to continue at the school, but Marshall said nothing would be done until he knows if the school gets another teaching position. Gary Wooten returns to teach art, and Catherine Miller will teach music, each for three days a week.
Meanwhile, the school district is offering a special back-to-school parent information telephone line at 941-782-1287 to offer information on everything from bus stop locations to home education. The line is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Monday, Aug. 19, from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.