on August 24, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on First day of school a "mixed bag" of emotion at Wheat Ridge’s Prospect Valley

First day of school a "mixed bag" of emotion at Wheat Ridge’s Prospect Valley

Ask the McSheeny family of Wheat Ridge how their first day of school back at Prospect Valley Elementary went, and you get a variety of responses.

First grader Ethan and second grader Matthew both shout “Awesome!”

Sophia, now in fifth grade says the day was, “great.”

Mother Shannon McSheeny jokes “Tiring, because I just did laundry all day.”

McSheeny says her family loves the school, and has made a tradition out of walking together to and from Prospect Valley on the first day of each school year.

Most Jefferson County School District students reported to class Aug. 18, ready for another year of reading writing and ‘arithmetic. At Prospect Valley, 3400 Pierson Street in Wheat Ridge, many of the school’s 506 students and their parents walked to and from school, even as an afternoon rainstorm brought out the umbrellas.

“It’s mixed emotions,” said Monica Shanley, when asked how it felt to drop off her three kids. “I’m ready for them to get in the routine again, but I’ll miss having them at home.”

For the first day of school, Shanley’s friend Amie Morozs dropped off her third grade daughter, as well as flowers for all the staff.

We love the teachers and do everything we can for them,” said Morozs, who is active in the school’s PTA.

Morozs said she’s seen the improvements in school operations and in test scores over the last few years. She credits strong parental participation and Principal Michael Collins with turning Prospect Valley around.

“He stands outside the school every morning. He’s out there every afternoon,” Morozs said.

Collings, reached by phone, said he was excited for the new school year.

“We’ve tried to make some positive changes every year I’ve been there,” said Collins, now in his sixth year at the school.

Changes for this year: A staggered lunch and recess schedule; specialized tutors on campus, to help with reading, writing and gifted students; and scheduling system that includes extra time to help struggling students catch back up.

The changes seem to be working. In 2014 Prospect Valley received the Governor’s 2014 Distinguished Improvement Award.

Nancy Garcia also had good things to say about the school as she helped drop off her granddaughter, who was going into first grade.

“She had a good time here last year and was looking forward to coming back today,” said Garcia. She added that it probably helped that last year’s kindergarten teacher seemed to adore the girl.

“There’s just a lot of friendly people here,” Garcia said, gesturing towards the school.

Lakewood mother of two Valerie Smith admits that she cried when she first sent her children off to kindergarten. This year, the older daughter is in fifth grade, her youngest son Leo Marfil Smith is in second grade.

“It was great, easier than I thought it would be this year,” Smith said.

For Leo, the end of summer and first day of school was something of a mixed bag.

“Seeing my friends is good … but the teacher, not really.”

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