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Changes In Store For Peekskill Students

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Students returning to Peekskill city schools Thursday will notice several big changes across the district.

Many of the more noticeable change will be at Peekskill High School and include a new principal.

Fred Hutchinson was named the new principal earlier this summer after serving as the director of reading and gifted for the district for the past year. He was appointed to that position in spring 2011 following an assignment as an English and reading teacher at the school. Hutchinson replaced principal Sherrill Murray-Lazarus, who stepped down at the end of this school year.

The high school also received a new entrance and cafeteria as one of the district's capital improvement projects. The new entrance has a cement patio area with benches and a series of fabric flags.

The school's cafeteria and adjacent kitchen also got a face-lift this summer, and will have what district officials hope will be a more welcoming food court atmosphere.

The school will also be housing an alternative education program for the first time in many years. A wing of the building is currently being modified to accommodate the new program.

Elsewhere, Woodside Elementary School will be running on new hours starting this year: from 9:20 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Breakfast will start at 8:45 a.m. for both kindergarten and first grade. The number of children starting kindergarten is up this year from 226 last year to 289 this year.

"We are already adding three kindergarten sections," said district spokesperson Anita Prentice said. "We've added two new teachers and brought down a first-grade teacher."

The first day of school for first-graders is Thursday while kindergarteners will start with two half-days Thursday and Friday with dismissal at 12:15 p.m. Their first full day is Sept. 9.

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