PEEKSKILL, N.Y. The faculty of Woodside Elementary School welcomed kindergarten and first-grade students Thursday morning as classes began across the Peekskill City School District.
Students were dropped off by parents and buses at the school before 9 a.m. and were greeted by Principal Staci Woodley and her staff and were led to their classrooms. Woodley starts her fourth year as principal at the school after stints as principal at Oakside and the now closed Uriah Hill elementary schools.
"So far so good," Woodley said as the last students made their way to class. "We can't forget that all these little ones are coming in for the first time, and with kindergartners it's usually their first school experience. We understand that they're nervous or anxious, so we want to have big smiles and make sure they get to their classrooms safely."
This year the school added three kindergarten classes for a total of 13 to accommodate an influx of new students.
"There are about 22 or 23 students in a class right now, and more are on the way," Woodley said. "We got a call from the registration office that we have about 10 more students."
First-grade teacher Bridget Holloman was moved to teach kindergarten, and teacher Dilenia Martinez was brought in from another school. Teacher Melina Cronin was hired to teach the third of the three new kindergarten classes.
New students are tested to see where they stand academically before being placed in classes, Woodley said.
"It's just to see where the students are, what letters they know, numbers, colors, shapes," Woodley said. "It helps us with class placement and knowing what students to put where to try and balance the classroom as best possible We try to have a similar amount of boys and girls, different academic ranges. We have two bilingual classes, and dual-language classes, too."