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Sessions introduce children to school

West Ironton School will start its second year of all-day kindergarten classes later than usual so teachers can help new students adjust to daily routines.

Saturday, August 21, 1999

West Ironton School will start its second year of all-day kindergarten classes later than usual so teachers can help new students adjust to daily routines.

"We’re trying to do orientations to make it a little smoother," said Shelly McGraw, principal and teacher.

"You really have to walk them through everything and the teachers have already decided it’s going to be a group thing," Ms. McGraw said. "We will eat lunch with them and hold their hand and teach them how to use the hallways and buses."

"My goal is to make children want to come to school every day."

Parents can help, too, by coming to Thursday’s orientation session, Ms. McGraw added.

Each teacher will be available and transportation directors will discuss bus schedules with the parents during two sessions – one at 9 a.m. and one at noon.

Every parent has received a letter directing them to one of the two sessions, which is important, Ms. McGraw said.

Only schedules of certain bus routes will discussed at each orientation, so parents need to come to their assigned session so they hear the right schedule, she said.

Also, the school is encouraging parents to not bring their children on Thursday because the student orientation is set for Friday at 9 a.m.

At both sessions, new parents and kindergartners can tour the building and talk to teachers.

They will also hear about new security precautions and what children need to bring to school that first day – Monday, Aug. 30.

All locks have been changed and the school has restricted public access to only one door at the front of the school, Ms. McGraw said.

"Anything we can do to make sure the building is more secure, the more they don’t have to worry all day long," she said.

The public door is now equipped with a buzzer to notify administrators if someone has entered, Ms. McGraw said. All visitors must sign in at the office and picking up children will require a form of photo identification.

Also, only clear plastic or mesh bookbags can be used by students throughout the Ironton School District, she said.

Meanwhile, parents itching to buy school supplies for their toddler should probably wait, Ms. McGraw said.

"Instead of each child getting a supply list sent home with them, we’re asking each parent give $20 and we will buy all supplies throughout the year," she said.

Although new to West Ironton, Ms. McGraw has been teaching for 24 years, including county schools, St. Lawrence Catholic School and Ohio University Southern Campus.

"I always said I wanted to come back to teaching the little ones because that’s where my heart is," she said. "I’ll be here every morning to greet the students and be here to put them on the bus."

To register children for kindergarten, mandatory in Ohio, parents can visit the school or call 533-6045.