NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — The buzz and excitement of the first day of school filled the halls of Narragansett Elementary School on Tuesday as Superintendent Peter Cummings greeted students, their parents, faculty and staff back for a new academic year.
Youngsters in lines scurried to and fro around the adults as the children learned their way around the school, or re-acquainted themselves with it and their teachers after a two-month stretch of summer vacation.
“Very smooth start,” Cummings said. “At all our schools, today is about rituals, routine and community building. We really connect the teachers with the kids and the kids with each other, and answer a lot of questions. Our kindergartens and preschoolers come in for part of the day.”
The preschool program has expanded to 100 students this year, Cummings said.
Narragansett Elementary School has a new principal in Lisa Wilson. But Wilson is a familiar face. She was assistant principal at NES before becoming principal at Peace Dale Elementary School.
“We lured her back, and we’re very excited,” Cummings said.
At the high school, there’s a new educator prep program.
“It’s the only one in the state affiliated with a national program,” Cummings said. “We have a partnership with URI and those kids will be working down here as well.”
On Monday, fourth-graders will welcome kindergartens and give them gifts in a small moving-up ceremony, Wilson said.
Outside on Tuesday, the familiar large yellow buses formed lines in front of the school and stopped to drop students off.
A similar scene took place at South Kingstown’s schools, which also started on Tuesday.
South Kingstown’s had a lot of change in administration over the summer, with a new superintendent, Linda Savastano, joining new interim high school principal Chip McGair and new principal Kimberly Komocar at Peace Dale Elementary School and Coleen Smith at Wakefield Elementary School.
South Kingstown resident Jennifer Mathieu is the mother of two boys that go to Peace Dale Elementary School, one in second grade and one starting kindergarten.
“The morning was a whirlwind of energy and excitement,” Mathieu said. “I was worried that my kindergartener might freeze up when it was time to get on the bus for the first time, but he hopped right on like a champ.”
After the bus pulled away the text messages from local parents started whipping around, confirming everyone was off on their way, Mathieu said.
“It’s been a really positive, supportive day. I can’t wait to see how their first day went,” she said.
On Thursday, school athletes from Narragansett High School visited Narragansett Elementary School students in the morning to greet them and give them high fives in a special annual tradition.