Monday, August 31 was not just any day. It was the first day of school in New Britain. The 2015-16 school year began with over 10,000 students attending classes throughout the district.
“Today, the opening day for the 2015-2016 school year went extremely well. Given the number of changes that occurred from last year to this and program movements to different schools, I was delighted with how smooth opening day went,” said Superintendent of School Kelt Cooper on Monday. “I started the day early at New Britain High School helping, observing, and welcoming students and parents back to school, and for the freshmen … well … we all spent time helping them find their way around a very large facility. It was a pleasure to see Board Members at several schools and even had members of the Latino Coalition greeting youngsters back to Smalley Elementary School. I am more than confident that this year will be another very productive year, one that builds upon the significant improvements of the past three years!”
Board members went to various City schools. At Smalley Elementary School, the New Britain Latino Coalition welcomed students back outside the school.
“It is always an honor and privilege for a group of leaders to come together to represent and encourage the students and parents of our community,” said Carmelo Rodriguez of the Coalition.
At Northend Elementary School, the NAACP formed a long line and pumped up the kids by offering high-fives along with boisterous words of encouragement as they walked into school.
“Members of these two organizations serve as role models for our children. It is important for our families to see and feel their support and presence at school. The first day of school is an exciting day. What better way to meet and greet families than at the doorstep of their child’s school,” said Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, president of the New Britain Board of Education.
According to the district, one of the main reasons why the first day of school was such a success was because all of the elementary schools held a dry run with their Back to School Breakfast on Thursday, August 27. That event, which is in its third year, has been growing each year.
“The ‘Welcome Back to School Breakfast’ allows our parents and younger students to be together in our schools for two hours to meet our teachers and to get used to the classroom setting,” said Paul Salina, Chief Operations Officer for the district. “This helps to relieve the separation anxiety of both students and parents, rather than on the first day of school when parents simply drop off their child and the routine of class immediately begins. We also want our parents to always feel welcomed in our schools and to be an active part of their child’s educational experience.”
Freshmen high school students started attending orientation classes on Aug. 18
Changes this year included Smalley’s kindergarten classes moving to Roosevelt School until a renovation project is completed and HALS relocation at Roosevelt.
“My son, Aaron, loves that HALS moved to Roosevelt. He was thrilled with all the new space that the old building lacked,” said Kimberly Tinder.
Every student in New Britain is also now eligible to get free breakfast and lunch at school.
That made at least one student happy.
“My 8th grader at Pulaski said he is happy everyone is getting lunch because he won’t see kids starving this year.” said Irasema Perez Sierra.
For some students this school meant a whole new beginning.
“My daughter Audrey (pre k at Roosevelt) didn’t want to leave,” said Christina Ann Rosenblatt.
“My son loved his first day of kindergarten at Lincoln School,” said Darleen Hayes. “He came home covered in strawberry sauce.”
The Consolidated School District of New Britain features 17 sites housing and 19 programs throughout the city.