The district can continue to improve, with teamwork, the superintendent says.
By MAYSOON ABDELRASUL
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN — Participants began arriving at 6:30 a.m. at Mollenkopf Stadium, and by 7:30 there was no place to park. People had to direct traffic because it was so packed — and it wasn’t for a football game.
The sun was shining on people sitting in the stadium and on the football field early Wednesday, for the Warren City School District’s annual kickoff event. In the background, construction of the new Warren G. Harding High School is ongoing.
From administrators to teachers, to city officials and food service people, it was a time for everyone to get together and start the school year with some support and encouragement. There also was entertainment from the Harding Band and cheerleaders.
Superintendent Kathryn Hellweg wanted to begin the 2007-08 school year on a positive note and she relayed her message to all.
“It is the beginning of a new era,” she said. “Today is the day to reaffirm the belief in our students.”
The first day of classes for the district is Sept. 4, later than previous years due to the construction of the new K-8 Lincoln School on the city’s East Side. The school will open this year and other schools will be open in coming years.
Ed Bolino, board of education president, told the teachers: “We hope that the structure and support in place will help you help us work out the kinks this year.”
Hellweg said the district converted to a new software program, implemented a new dress code, dramatically improved student behavior and saved the school district $1.5 million by downsizing plans for building new schools due to declining enrollment.
She said there are still things that need to be worked on continuously. She wants to improve communication within the community and raise student attendance and expectations.
“Students must be in school for them to learn,” she said.
She told the many educators in the audience that the efforts the district has undertaken cannot be accomplished with only a few people. She said it takes teamwork and a positive image to succeed.
Some audience members expressed their excitement for the new school year.
Judy Sullivan is an art teacher and will be working at the Lincoln building this year. She said she is looking forward to the new building because before she had to travel between two buildings.
She has been getting her classroom ready in the last two weeks. “I am ready for the kids to come,” she said.
Jan Losey in food service said she loves the annual kickoff event because it gives her the opportunity to mingle with all the friends she rarely sees throughout the school year.
She said there are a lot of frustrations with working in the district but it all pays off when the children are happy to come to school.
“I can’t wait to fill the buildings up with boys and girls,” she said.