First-grade teacher Allyson Spear welcomes students back to Camp Soda Creek on the first day of school Monday morning in Steamboat Springs. Students returned to classes at the high school, middle school, Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools.

Photo by John F. Russell

First-grade teacher Allyson Spear welcomes students back to Camp Soda Creek on the first day of school Monday morning in Steamboat Springs. Students returned to classes at the high school, middle school, Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools.

High energy for the first day

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— The students in Grady Turner's all-day kindergarten class bounced around the gym near the end of their first day with seemingly endless energy.

During the first class of all-day kindergarten offered in the Steamboat Springs School District, the students ran around the gym with physical education teacher Shannon Carlin, swinging hula-hoops and learning the rules of the school. This was the first time kindergartners had been in a P.E. class, and they seemed to take it in with glee, laughing as they skipped across the floor.

According to longtime kindergarten teacher Sharon Clementson, one of the all-day kindergarten teachers at Soda Creek Elementary School, the switch to an all-day program didn't affect the energy of the students Monday.

"They don't know the difference," she said. Clementson said her class had been very well behaved on the first day with no crying - from students or parents.

Soda Creek Principal Judy Harris said she expected the all-day kindergarten class to go smoothly because even though this is the first year for the program, students had been enrolling in after-school programs and daycare when half-day kindergarten was the only option.

Clementson said she will use the extra time afforded by the all-day program to provide students with the "specials" of art, music and physical education as well as to go more in-depth with the usual curriculum.

"I always just felt we were cranking so fast (with half-day classes)," she said. "I think I'll be able to be more relaxed with the kids and listen to their stories more. I always read to them once a day, but now maybe I can read to them two times."

Harris said the schools don't want to widen the gap between students in half-day and full-day kindergarten, and will stick to the same material, but she hopes the full-day classes will help students learn it "deeper" and retain more information.

First days

Monday also was the first day for the new administration at Steamboat Springs High School as Kevin Taulman took the role of principal and Marty Lamansky stepped into the assistant principal role.

"My wife said it's like my third first day," Lamansky said. He had his first day on the job, the first day with teachers and now his first day in an administrative position with students, he said.

Lamansky said the first day was busy as he met with teachers and students to welcome them back.

"We had students back with varying levels of energy," he said.

Lamansky said he also dropped in on several classrooms throughout the day.

"Kevin and I are making an effort, especially in the first week, to drop in to the classrooms and talk to the teachers," he said.

Lamansky worked as a teacher and speech coach before becoming an administrator. Taulman was the assistant principal before being promoted to the top spot.

Students at Steamboat Springs Middle School were able to enter through the school's front doors on their first day of classes. The school's front entrance had been closed much of the summer because of construction.

Workers erected a temporary covered walkway for the students while renovations continue on the outside of the building.

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