BALLSTON SPA: School repairs finished just as classes resume

The first week of school is usually pretty hectic, especially when the sidewalks, roof and water pipes all have to be repaired before classes start.

We had crews working feverishly, said Malta Avenue Principal Sharon D'Agostino. "It was down to the wire. We had an alternate plan in case the buses couldn't drop students off on the sidewalks."

Fortunately, the sidewalks were all filled when the students got there, and the roof and water were fine, too. The cafeteria floor is also new this year.

"The floor looks great," said D'Agostino. "The kids love it."

The food getting spilled on the new floor will be healthier than it used to be, too. The school district is in the process of implementing Healthy Start, a nationwide community-based program dedicated to improving many aspects of children's health.

"Each year we implement a new piece of it," the principal said.

This year, the school talked to Chartwells, the company that provides their lunches, and they will be serving meals this year in line with Healthy Start's regulations. Parents are also being discouraged from sending their kids in to school parties with unhealthy snacks such as cupcakes. Instead, the district is "encouraging them to send in fruits and other healthy snacks."

The Young Scholars program has been brought to the district this year, too. It is a program for gifted students, run by BOCES, which meets once a week and has been around for years in many other school districts in the area. Gifted third through fifth graders throughout the district will be bused to Malta Avenue once a week for the program.

Jodie Townsend will be teaching a fourth grade class at Malta this year for the first time. Although this is her first year with her own class, she is a familiar face here. She taught a third grade class last winter from December through March when the teacher was on leave, and she has many of the same students in her class this year.

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