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The Journal Gazette

  • Leo Elementary School Principal William Diehl welcomes students on the first day of school Tuesday. (Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette)

Wednesday, August 09, 2017 1:00 am

First day of school

EACS first to get kids in class

Pictures taken, expectations given at Leo Elementary

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

LEO-CEDARVILLE – Fourth-grader William Fletcher kept close to his mother Tuesday morning as the pair approached Leo Elementary School for the first day of class.

The boy, who moved from Indianapolis, just registered Monday and didn't know who his teacher was at the school for grades 4-6.

“He's nervous,” Anna Fletcher said, adding, “really nervous.”

East Allen County Schools was the county's first district to start the 2017-18 year. Fort Wayne Community Schools begins Tuesday, with Northwest and Southwest Allen County schools following a day later.

With clear skies overhead and crisp air, students at Leo filed off buses while others entered through the main entrance with their parents. Many carried plastic shopping bags filled with supplies.

Fifth-grader Ella Wehrle, who walked in with her mother, said she was excited and looked forward to having friends in her class.

Taryn Glass used the minutes before class to photograph her children – Tia, a sixth-grader; Trent, a fifth-grader; and Tori, a kindergartner at Cedarville – in front of the school.

Principal William Diehl greeted students as they exited buses. Most fifth- and sixth-graders know the routine, he said, but the fourth-graders tend to be nervous.

“You want a smiling face out there,” he said while walking the empty halls after class began, popping inside a few classrooms.

He asked students whether they liked their new environment, which for fifth-graders included a switch to the high-performance teaming setup previously used only by sixth grade. Instead of desks and chairs, students sat in office chairs around conference tables meant to foster collaboration.

Diehl predicted a “busy, busy day” that would include distributing new iPads to every student and him meeting with every grade level to discuss expectations.

“We set the tone for the whole year,” he said. Noting that Leo is among the few Four Star schools in Allen County, he added, “I have to let them know what it takes to be there.”

Diehl expected students would have lots to talk about at the dinner table Tuesday night.

As for him, having students back in school gave the building energy it didn't have over the summer.

“It's not a school until the kids come back,” he said.