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New Shen school opens; elementary facility welcomes 550 students

He also highlighted the fact that the building is air conditioned with a sprinkler system throughout, calling it a "fire area" that allows it to be more open.

Elizabeth Wood is Shatekon's new principal. She was previously the principal at South Colonie's Shaker Road Elementary.

"We've been able to draw from the expertise of the seven other schools in Shenendehowa, and it's going to be an excellent opportunity for us to make decisions on how we'll do business here at Shatekon," Wood said. "We're really looking forward to it."

Colleen Stockert taught kindergarten at Arongen last year, and will teach one of four first-grade classes at Shatekon this year. She said after the dedication that students would take a tour of the school on Wednesday to help familiarize them with the new building.

"We're all new together, it's a great chance that we can become friends and make a new family here," Stockert said. "I liked the idea of being one of the first groups to come here. This will be my classroom, it's like establishing your own little territory."

Robinson said that this year's redistricting aimed at putting students from the same neighborhood in the same school and that about one third of district students are in new schools this year. The majority of Shatekon's teachers and administrators are transfers from other Shenendehowa schools.

Mackayla Schmidt, 9, toured Shatekon after the dedication with her grandparents. Previously at Tesago Elementary, she will be attending the new school this year in fifth-grade.

"I'm kind of nervous because I never moved [schools] before," Mackayla said. "[The classrooms are] very nice, I'm looking forward to meeting my teacher. I know a lot of my friends are here."

Speaking at the dedication, Robinson said it was a glorious day in the history of the district.

"As our sacred charge as leaders for learning, we must all be engaged in an informed and principled strategic plan to ensure the vitality of a quality education for all children regardless of gender, race, creed, religion, or ability level," Robinson said. "The greatest opportunity our children will have is education, because we know education is a passport to their future and the more educated they are, the further they can hope to go."

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