New faces, new classes, at Highlands School

There are more teachers and classes this year at Highlands School as well as more students enrolled for the 2019-’20 school year.

Pictured at the top of article are the new faces at Highlands School for the 2019-’20 school year are from left,: 4th grade teacher Sherrie King, 2nd grade teacher assistant Stephanie McConnell, high school history teacher and boys varsity soccer coach Caleb Brown, and 6th grade teacher Stephanie Cook. Photo by Asst. Principal Sarah Holbrooks.

According to Principal Brian Jetter, there are 370 students enrolled, which is up from last year’s 341. A final count will be taken 10 days after school starts. The first day of School is today.

Due to state requirements concerning elementary class sizes, there is an additional kindergarten class. 

For 2019-’20 there is an Individual Class max size and a Max Average of ALL Classes (in that grade level) within the Local Education Agency (LEA) for grades K – 3. 

For 2019-’20, the Individual Class max size is 22. The  Max Average of ALL Classes (in that grade level) within the LEA is 19. 

“We have two kindergarten classes because we have a total of 27 kindergarten students enrolled which exceeds the Individual Class max of 22,” said Principal Jetter. 

There are 14 students in one kindergarten class; 13 in the other; 22 students in 1st grade; 14 in one 2nd grade and 13 in the other; and 20 in the 3rd grade.

The new elementary teacher assistant Stephanie McConnell will work both second-grade classes – one with Cynthia Henderson and one with Robyn Hessling. There isn’t enough funding for each second-grade class to have a full-time teacher assistant.

Due to numbers, there is also an additional sixth-grade homeroom and another high school history class.

The two 6th-grade teachers are new hire Sherrie King and Joy Archer.

There are also two high school history teachers – new hire Caleb Brown who is also the Boys Varsity Soccer team coach and Chris Green.

Spanish is online this year. there are 16 students signed up for Spanish first semester and 12 for second semester

Open House is tonight, Aug. 22 from 4-6 p.m. Students and families are encouraged to visit the school so students can get acquainted with their teachers and the school.

Teachers cram in final preparations before 1st day of school

Highlands High School Math Teacher Brian Aulisio edits together math lessons to music in the days before school begins on Aug.26.

Teachers at Highlands School spent the last two weeks utilizing the time to finalize lesson plans and set up their rooms before students arrive this morning.

Kindergarten Teacher Margie Potts likes to ease the children back into the routine of school and uses the first day of class for introductions and a tour of the school learning where hotspots like the playground, principal’s office, and bathrooms are located.

“I’m always ready to start a new year,” said Potts. “We meet all the new kids on the first day and you can see who’s nervous and who’s excited. After breakfast, we’ll read a story and do some hands-on projects and have fun.”

High School Math Teacher Brian Aulisio takes a different approach on the 1st day.

“We start working straight up,” said Aulisio. “Everyone knows everyone, and I don’t mess around with that. We get right to it.”

He added that he uses the final weeks before school review past lessons and look for areas where he can improve upon them, which includes editing together videos putting math lessons to music.

By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper; and Brian O’Shea, Plateau Daily News

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