Embarking on a brand new year

GLADSTONE – The excitement of a new school year is upon teachers and students at Cameron Elementary, who are gearing up for class in the renovated facility with new programs and technology.

“I’m very happy to welcome parents and students to Cameron and looking forward to a new year in a new facility,” said Cameron Principal Donna Flannery during an open house Wednesday.

Students may notice some changes around the school building due to the renovations aimed at keeping children in a safe and effective learning environment.

“We’ve renovated the classrooms, (there is) new cabinetry, some new flooring, (and we’ve) completely renovated the front offices to make them secure,” said Flannery.

This year marks the beginning of preschool and before and after school programs at Cameron. The programs will be housed in two rooms in the school’s new addition. Other classrooms in the addition have been used by kindergarten teachers and students since last February. Both the preschool and the before and after school programs will be administered by the Northern Lights YMCA Delta Program Center.

Preschool will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and noon for children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 5. According to Debbie Mitchell, YMCA child care, the new room and location is especially beneficial for young children because it provides them with an early introduction to the school environment.

“That’s very overwhelming when they turn 5 to go from their one little classroom that they’re used to for preschool and then go to a big school,” said Mitchell.

Older students, who attend either Cameron or Jones Elementary, can participate in the before and after school programs.

Jones Elementary students who participate in the before school program will be bussed from Cameron.

Before school programming includes crafts and other activities that can be completed before students start their school day. Parents can drop off their students at Cameron around 7 a.m. After school care runs from the end of the school day until 6 p.m.

“After school, we focus on homework and we do whatever is leftover from the day. We do some outside time, might do another craft depending on if it’s the same kids from the morning in the afternoon,” said Andrea Merki, YMCA site supervisor for before and after care.

In addition to the new facility upgrades and YMCA run programs, students and teachers at Cameron can look forward to using technology in new ways during the school year.

“The teachers each got iPads and for music I use my iPad to preprogram what I’m going to use for the entire day so that it helps with classroom management,” explained music teacher Gayle Patrick. “I don’t have to wait for the songs to pop up it’s just right there.”

In other classrooms, students may be able to use the new technology directly.

“For most of the other classrooms there are apps for the iPad … They are able to present the curriculum items in just different ways and students have an opportunity to practice more by using the app. It’s just more interactive and engages the students,” said Patrick.