Cooper Elementary opened its doors a day early Wednesday so parents could meet their children’s new teachers and students could scope out their new classrooms.
“I was a little nervous, but that’s OK,” 9-year-old Sabra Dunakey said. She met her fourth-grade teacher and was able to pick her desk – right in front. “My best friend is going to sit next to me,” she said.
Parents and kids filed in and out of Wes Franks’ classroom during Wednesday’s one-hour event. “The kids are a little shy,” he said.
Cooper Principal Rona Williams was pleased with the participation in the first-time event, held the day before Spokane Public Schools begins its school year. No other school in the district held a similar meet-and-greet.
“It’s really a way to get more of our parents to feel welcome and safe. It’s a way for all of us to connect,” Williams said.
Parents seemed to welcome the idea, as evidenced by the long line outside the school doors 15 minutes before the event began. Spokane Public Schools students have the earliest start in the region. The reason, officials have said, is that they built in snow days for the upcoming year. Two tough winters in a row meant days off for students, extensions of the school year in June, and the headache and paperwork of petitioning the state to let students attend fewer than the mandated number of school days, officials said in the spring.
The start of a new school year also will bring police enforcing 20 mph speed zones around schools, said Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller.
She added, “One time that many people seem to forget about is when the morning kindergarten ends and the afternoon class begins.”
Parents need to remind their kids how and where to cross the roads, Fuller said.
Fuller also wants children to remember not to talk to strangers.
“If it’s not someone you recognize, yell, run away, and report it to a trusted adult immediately,” Fuller said. “Walking in pairs is always best for safety.”