Lace your shoes and zip your backpack, Tri-town students go back to school

Aug 30, 2022

At Center School in Mattapoisett, children arrived in buses with backpacks, lunch boxes and good spirits in tow, as Principal Linda Ashley greeted them at the front door for their first day back on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

Students are returning this year to relaxed mask mandates and shortened quarantine guidelines, hopefully lessening the impact that covid will have on the school year.

For Chevron Johnson, an eight-year-old entering third grade, this was his last first day at Center School.

“I can’t wait for next summer to start,” he said before walking into the building.

His mother, Jennifer Johnson, felt conflicted. “I’m excited for him, but I am sad that he’s leaving home,” she said.

As more children walked — and ran — into the building, some stopped to say hi to teachers.

Others hesitated, waiting for friends to catch up before walking into Center School together.

“Many of them, as you see their faces, they’re smiling, they’re excited,” said Assistant Superintendent Howard Barber, who also greeted students at the door. “I know the administration, just like everyone else, is excited to get them back in the classroom.”

At Sippican School in Marion, it was a mix of sullen faces and excited high-fives as students poured into the building for back-to-school night on Monday, Aug. 29.

Principal Marla Sirois stood at the door to welcome individual students along with Superintendent Michael Nelson. Sirois seemed to know them all by name, and some even stopped to give her hugs.

“Welcome back, it’s going to be a great year,” she told passing families.

Down the hall, Marissa Rogers was welcoming a group of new kindergarten students to her classroom – and greeting previous students who came to visit her.

“The best part about coming back is seeing all the kids again, the ones you’ve worked so hard and watched them grow – and I’m excited for these guys,” Rogers said as she pointed out the group of new kindergarteners checking out crayons at tables, “because it’s a whole new world for them.”

When it comes to kids who have spent the past few years in lockdown, Rogers says that it comes with challenges and she focuses a lot on social learning. However, her group of kids last year were “empathetic and outgoing” and she said that “kindergarteners are very resilient.”

Parents and students packed the gym at Rochester Memorial School for back to school night on Tuesday, Aug. 30 where Principal Derek Medeiros addressed the students to talk to them about classroom safety policies before dismissing them to meet their individual teachers.

“We’re excited to be back to what Rochester Memorial has been like prior to the upside-down world of the past few years,” Medeiros said. “But there’s silver linings, like new technology, and it has reminded us how lucky we are to have school fully back in session like this.”

Medeiros said that RMS has taken advantage of all available educational support programs and they opened up after-school activities last year, both academic and athletic, which has helped close the learning gap.

One new addition to the RMS campus this year is the book vending machine, coordinated by the Parent-Teacher Organization and the school librarian, Sandy Sollauer.

Students are all assigned nightly reading time, but if they do an extra 10 minutes or more, they can earn tokens to exchange for new books from the machine.

“It’s so awesome,” said PTO member Kirstin Jimenez. “We’re really excited about it.”