Story and photo by Andrea Sutherland
As parents anxiously counted down the days to the beginning of the school year, Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 teachers organized their classrooms and lesson plans in preparation for the first day of school, which began Thursday.
“I’m a little overwhelmed,” said Liz Favors, second grade teacher at Abrams Elementary School. “I’ve been prepping for four days.”
Favors spent the final hours leading up to the official start of school putting the finishing touches on her reading, math, writing and science and social studies walls, hanging colorful construction paper, posters of the alphabet and progress charts.
“I’m looking forward to the first day and getting to work with students again,” said Favors, who took a leave of absence from teaching after giving birth to her son last year. “I’m looking forward to teaching again.”
Nora Busby returned for her second year of teaching and finished putting together her room in less than two days.
“I got a jump start,” said Busby, who teaches reading and gifted and talented students. “I like making sure I have everything available for my students before the first day.”
In the computer lab, technology instructor Amy Mereness-Cutler battled cords as she hooked up new flat-screen monitors for the 28 computers.
“(The children) are going to be ecstatic,” she said. “Last year only the back row had flat-screens and they all wanted those computers.”
Mereness-Cutler said she teaches computer classes for children in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“In one week I have all the kids in the school,” she said. “It’s crazy, but I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
While preparing her classroom, Amy Stevens strategized by decorating the exterior walls of her classroom first.
“I’m now focusing on re-learning the technology,” said Stevens, a fourth grade teacher at Abrams.
“We spend many, many more hours than what’s required preparing for students,” she said. “One of my co-workers was here until 8 p.m. setting up her classroom.”
Stevens said she and her colleagues spent the summer break training and planning curriculums.
Stevens’ fourth graders have numerous projects to look forward to, including Colorado history, building model homes with working electrical circuits, dissecting owl pellets and learning about the solar system. Students will also complete several writing projects and research papers, study magnetism and the ecosystem and work on their reading skills and comprehension.
Despite the stress leading up to the beginning of the school year, Stevens said she was eager for the first day of classes.
“I look forward to the excitement of the kids,” she said. “It’s a new start.”