Back to school at Horizon - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Back to school at Horizon

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Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 2:00 pm | Updated: 11:03 am, Tue Sep 17, 2013.

Cars were bumper-to-bumper Monday morning along 48th Street and Frye Road as parents dropped off their excited kids at Horizon Community Learning Center (HCLC) for the first day of school.

Hallways at the school experienced heavy traffic, with parents walking their children to classes.

Melissa Hartley, director of community relations at HCLC, said the first week of school is always the craziest because with new incoming students, but it’s also a fun time.

Some reasons for the heavy backups during the first day of school were due to the fact parents were speaking with administration and HCLC students are to be dropped off at the school each day.

For some students who are attending the school for the first time it can be a nerve-racking experience trying to get comfortable with the new surroundings, especially kindergartners.

However, many of the kindergartners at HCLC showed excitement while walking to their classrooms ready to take on their first day of school.

Inside the classrooms kindergartners looked fully engaged, sitting in the up-right fetus position, clenching their knees while soaking in every word their teacher was saying.

The first half hour of class were designed to allow the new students to learn everyday classroom polices they will have to abide by while class is in session.

Parent involvement

While the kiddos were attending their first kindergarten class, HCLC offered an hour meeting in its multi-purpose room for parents who are new to the school, called Kinder Talk.

Kinder Talk allowed administration to speak to parents to ensure them their child is in good hands, and gave them basic background on what the school has to offer.

One topic of discussion raised during Kinder Talk was the different volunteer opportunities parents can participate at the school.

Hartley said wherever the parent’s or the student’s passion lay; there’s different volunteer opportunities for both to get involved with.

She also said emails are sent to parents about the different volunteering opportunities they may want to get involved with.

Jody Godinez spoke on how parents can get more involved with volunteering and told parents the school has an open-door policy, allowing parents to drop by the school to have any of their concerns looked into.

Godinez touched on the lunch program, where parents can assist by delivering lunches to the students in the classroom, and staff appreciation where the volunteers give out different food items to the staff.

She also added there’s a volunteer program called Adopt the Eagle, where teachers write up a wish list filled with different items they may need in their classrooms and parents can volunteer to purchase the items.

“Any time parents have a few minutes they can pop in the classrooms to ask to see what needs to be done,” Godinez said.

Godinez has volunteered at HCLC for two years and has two kids attending; her daughter, Zoe, a first-grader, and her son, Iván, a kindergartner.

“It was a little bit hard, but he’s familiar with the school so he walked in and acted like he owned the place,” Godinez said, laughing.

She added that Zoe is very excited for the first day of school because her teachers are really sweet and some of her friends are in the same class.

Kindergartners weren’t the only individuals experiencing their first day.

Bethany Dinardo, an eight-grade humanities teacher, is experiencing her first day at HCLC being a new teacher at the school.

Dinardo said she teaches her students English and social studies by reading novels and writing essays to bring the material to life.

“There’s a great supportive community here with teachers and staff, so it’s been a great morning,” Dinardo said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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