‘Ready to make a difference’

Lincoln Elementary School students work on their tablets during the first day of school on Thursday.

WAVERLY — The 2019-2020 school year may have kicked off on Thursday for Waverly Central School District students, but the work began weeks ago for the adults who will try to get them to reach their potential in the classroom.

Waverly Superintendent Eric Knolles praised his teachers after the opening day of school for taking time during the summer to get ready for the school year.

“These guys have probably had the best professional development summer that they’ve ever had. Of course I use sports analogies all the time, and it’s training camp,” Knolles said. “We got a lot money from the state this year to put towards (professional development) and our teachers showed up. I mean they worked their tails off all summer. It wasn’t like I hadn’t seen these guys all summer. They’ve been here the last six weeks.”

Knolles spent the first day of school traveling to every building in the district.

“I made it to all three schools. I was at the high school and middle school until about 9 o’clock, so I greeted the buses when kids came off the bus. From there I shot over to Lincoln and spent about an hour over there and then shot over to Elm Street and spent about an hour over there with those guys. It was a great morning,” Knolles said.

Knolles is now in his second year as Waverly’s superintendent — and he noticed the difference that a year has made.

“The first day is awesome. The kids are excited to come back and that’s the key, right? That’s why you get into education, to work with kids and they know me now, so it’s cool when I walk into the building,” Knolles said. “The kids know you and holler ‘hey Mr. Knolles.’ It’s great to see their faces light up. It’s like the first day of any sports season.”

One thing that will help Waverly’s teachers — and students — this year is the fact the school district now boasts a one-to-one student and technology ratio — meaning that every student in the district from kindergarten through 12th grade has their own technology device for the classroom.

“It’s great. Our kids are 21st Century learners and you’re preparing them for the world, and it’s not a world where they hand out worksheets and account ledgers anymore,” said Knolles. “You have to have that technology. It’s good for the kids to be interactive. I mean it still takes great teachers to make things happen, but great teachers with great tools gives you a great learning environment.”

Knolles believes that with the team he has in place, the school district is poised to have a great year.

“I think (the teachers) are really ready. It just seems like the school is turning a corner and people are really ready to make a difference and make an academic jump,” Knolles said.

Pat McDonald can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 228 or editor@morning-times.com. Follow Managing Editor Pat McDonald on Twitter @PatMcDonaldMT.

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