So long summer … school’s in session |

So long summer … school’s in session

Eben Harrell
With only a few day of summer vacation left, Aspen Middle School seventh-grade language arts teacher Dana Hebert readies her classroom on Thursday. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

After a sleepy summer, when only the occasional camper or counselor strolled the grounds, Aspen’s schools stirred to life again this week.Gather your pencils and pack your lunches – school’s back in session.

The first day of school for Aspen public school students in grades 7-12 is Monday; kids in kindergarten through fifth grade will join them on Tuesday.School will last a little longer for most of this year, as Aspen Elementary School will dismiss pupils at 3:05 p.m., Aspen Middle School at 3:10 p.m., and Aspen High School at 3:15 p.m. The revised bus schedules for these dismissal times can be found on the district’s Web site at Aspen teachers returned to campus this week, though – sorting through offices, lesson plans and classrooms – bringing excitement to the air.”There’s just an energy, an excitement to going back to school,” Aspen Superintendent Diana Sirko said. “You always have a sense of renewal that gets everyone excited.”

“Yeah, I guess I’m excited,” said AHS junior Jake Landburgh, while checking out the campus this week. “I’m excited to see everyone again.”Sirko said the district will focus this year on its “Pyramid of Intervention,” a program designed to cater to the individual needs of students. “We are working to make sure that no matter [what level] a student comes in at, we have ways to meet their needs,” Sirko said.High School Principal Kendall Evans said the high school, in keeping with the principles of the pyramid, will focus on both ends of the achievement spectrum, with special attention paid to students in the school’s vaunted International Baccalaureate program and to those struggling to meet state proficiency levels.

“We will continue to work on the programs we have in place to help students on all ends of the spectrum. Our math labs and writing labs are a big part of that,” Evans said.Speaking at a staff back-to-school barbecue earlier this week, eighth-grade English teacher Chris Keleher said the first weeks of the school year are pretty mellow, giving students a chance to settle in after summer vacation.”We pretty much spend the first couple weeks of school getting ready for Outdoor [Education],” Keleher said.Outdoor Education is an experiential education program that takes students on trips ranging from working in a Harlem soup kitchen to bike riding in the Black Hills of South Dakota. High school students spend the week of Sept. 7-14 on Outdoor Ed trips, while the eighth grade takes its trip in the middle of the month.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is

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