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Sat., Apr. 19
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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Teachers ready for school to begin

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POTSDAM - While the halls were dark and quiet and the only children at school were outside practicing in preparation of the upcoming fall sports seasons, many of the classrooms at area schools were not empty last week.

Despite still technically being on summer vacation, teachers from around the region could be found at work inside their classrooms getting ready for the start up the upcoming school year. Teachers, tesaher aides and and other support staff that work the school year calendar will return to school on Tuesday for two days of staff development work.

In Potsdam, high school math teacher Josh D. Brosell said he’s ready for the return of the students Thursday.

“It’s coming fast,” he said, adding he was “just getting things organized.”

“This is my sixth year teaching, so at this point it’s just getting organized, getting everything set up and getting the supplies ready,” he said.

Mr. Brosell said he looks forward to the start of the school year each summer.

“It’s exciting to have the kids come back and start working with them again,” he said. “Usually it’s a new group of students I haven’t had before so it’s interesting, but we’re small enough that we know most of the students even if we haven’t had them before.”

At Parishville-Hopkinton Nicole N. Clark-Vallance said she’s been looking forward to the first day of school since last year ended.

“I’m the only one who cries on the last day when the kids leave,” she said, standing before a door that was decorated with pictures of every class she’s taught at the school.

“I bring the students into my personal interests. They’ll get to know the Yankees and Clarkson hockey,” she said, adding it’s not unusual for players from Clarkson to visit her classroom during the year.

Ms. Clark-Vallance said aside from the memorabilia that stays on her classroom walls each year, every year she decorates her classroom with a different theme.

“With the election coming up this year, we’re doing everything all red, white and blue,” she said, as she was hanging patriotic decorations on the room’s walls.

“I would live in my classroom if I could. This is just like my home,” she said.

Becky Henderson-Howie teaches seventh and eighth grade English at Colton-Pierrepont, and she said she too is ready for the new year to arrive.

“I’m ready to go,” she said, adding she makes regular appearances at the school all throughout the summer.

“Before I had a child, I was in more than I am now. I used to be in once or twice a week,” she said. “I try to do a little bit each time I’m here, whether it’s something with the room, something with the computer, planning for next year or reflecting on last year.”

Ms. Henderson-Howie echoed Mr. Brosell’s sentiments about the benefits of working in a small school.

“One of the greatest benefits of working at a school this size is our team of teachers teach in the seventh and eighth grade. Last year we also had the opportunity to teach in the sixth grade, so we got to know the students,” she said. “I’m looking forward to that crop of kids coming in as seventh and eighth graders.”

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