Principal Says New Initiative, Challenge on Horizon at Hollywood Elementary
The first-day-of-school experience varied from parents, administrators, teachers, staff and students at Hollywood Elementary School. This is one of those stories.
It appeared Barbara Caskey had the first-day-of-school ritual down pat on Monday, as a beacon of calm among the flurry of activity and greeting students by name near the school entrance.
Makes sense, since this was the start of Caskey’s 19th year as principal of Hollywood Elementary School. But not everything will be old hat this year, she said.
This starts the first of a five-year state standard program called Common Core in English/language arts and mathematics, a program that county public school Superintendent William Hite has said is more rigorous than current standards with new standardized assessments.
Caskey said the program requires a different emphasis in the classroom.
“It’s focused more on higher level understanding … thinking skills … solving real life problems,” with a greater integration into the curriculum, she said.
The demand on teachers will increase in a different respect as well. They face larger classroom sizes this year at Hollywood Elementary due to budget challenges, Caskey said.
She estimated that in 2010, classrooms at Hollywood had 25 students. This year, she said first-grade rooms have about 28 students; fourth grade about 29 students; and sixth grade about 38.
Still, she’s determined to focus on the positive, and overcoming such challenges, in part thanks to donations and support from organizations like the PTA, American Legion, Boy Scouts and local churches.
“It’s a real community effort to do what we need to do,” she said.