Burnt Hills - School daze begins

Alarm clocks will be buzzing earlier than they have in three months, mothers will be opening shades to let in sunlight, and cranky kids will be trudging to the kitchen table for a healthy breakfast Thursday morning. Students in grades one through 12 in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district are feeling the wake-up call of reality as they bid summer good-bye and return to the world of academics.

Parents of district kindergarten kids have one extra day to get their cameras ready and pick out clothes for their 5- and 6 year-olds boarding yellow buses for their highly anticipated first day of school on Friday.

About 500 staff members in the district reported for duty the day after Labor Day for a pre-opening day rally to welcome newcomers, raise spirits, provide networking opportunities and promote teamwork during the months ahead.

We've worked to make this opening event a real celebration, said district spokeswoman Christy Multer. "We want the staff to get psyched and pass their excitement along to the kids."

Held in the high school auditorium, the event includes introductions of all new staff members and greetings from district administrators and the board of education.

The staff members were also treated to a live vocal performance by district students of "Just one person," a song that demonstrates the power of one teacher's belief in the abilities of each individual learner. They also viewed a sentimental video of children talking about their favorite school memories to date.

District kids won't need to be sharpening pencils for any additional state mandated tests this year, but teachers will be undergoing a new measure of their individual performances and strengths. The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake board of education adopted a new annual performance review for both tenured and non-tenured teachers that takes effect this school year. The reviews are more comprehensive and will clarify duties, and help identify and build successful teaching strategies.

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