Students back at school in Hayden |

Students back at school in Hayden

Teachers, students look forward to new year in the classroom

Hayden High School science teacher Dean Massey talks to his biology class Tuesday during the school's first day of classes. Massey dressed up as Bob Marley and told students not to be stressed about the year ahead.Scott Franz

— Wearing a tie-dye T-shirt and a wig lined with fake dreadlocks Tuesday, Hayden High School science teacher Dean Massey promised his biology students that they would rarely see him in costume again. As he spoke over a recording of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," Massey prepared his students for the year ahead.

"This class can be challenging," he said. "But I don't want you to be overwhelmed, because every little thing is going to be all right."

Hundreds of students in Hayden ended their summer vacations Tuesday and went back to class to start a new year of school. For the upper-classmen at the high school, the first day wasn't too difficult.

"It's been a good day so far," junior Mallory McGowen said. "I know everybody now, and I know what to expect."

Science teacher Robin Bush didn't dress up as a celebrity when she introduced herself to her new students Tuesday, but she thought her first lesson plan was just as effective.

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"I decided to go hands-on right out of the gate," she said. "Just going over procedures can be kind of dull, so to get the students thinking about the year ahead, I had them do a measuring lab where they worked with the metric system."

Bush, who will be teaching eighth- and ninth-grade science classes this year, is one of the high school's new transition teachers. She said the school's 2010-11 budget influenced the district's decision to assign three teachers to teach both high school and middle school classes. Bush used to teach only sixth-graders, but she doesn't mind her new job title.

"I like the reconfiguring that came out of our budget this year," she said. "It's a new job assignment, but I get to teach kids that I've had before, and it's great."

Other changes at the high school and middle school this year include a new bell schedule and the addition of nine new SMART Boards in the district that will allow teachers to more effectively incorporate technology into their lesson plans.

Despite the new changes, Principal Troy Zabel said classes at the high school and middle school were running smoothly.

"It's fun having them back here," he said. "There's no energy in the building when they're gone in the summer, but these halls are alive today."

Zabel said that in addition to some class restructuring, the school also has added new classes for middle school students. Seventh-graders will be able to take an instructional guitar class, and eighth-graders can now enroll in a computer applications class.

Down the road at Hayden Valley Elementary School, students didn't seem to be thinking as much about their schedules when they escaped from the class for the first time.

"There's some extra energy running through the kids today," teacher Nicole Geddes said as she watched her students enjoy recess. "It's great to see them back."

— To reach Scott Franz, call 871-4210 or e-mail