PARIS — The new school year will begin Wednesday at Paris Elementary School with some 450 students toting yellow backpacks.

Principal Jane Fahey said recently that each student will receive a new backpack filled with school supplies. The backpacks were donated by Ruth’s Reusable Resources, a nonprofit organization based in Portland.

“A large group of children and parents showed up at Paris Elementary last week to help unload and sort backpacks,” Fahey said. “Children eagerly looked inside the backpacks for each grade level, where they found notebooks, paper, pencils, crayons, markers, erasers, folders, rulers, binders and other school supplies.” 

Fahey said the school pays a small fee each year to access a variety of classroom supplies from the organization, which has provided more than $41 million in surplus supplies to Maine schools since 1994. Each backpack contains an encouraging note from Ruth.

The Harrison, West Paris, Waterford and Norway elementary schools are some of the others in SAD 17 that take advantage of the program.

This year, 19 schools, including Paris Elementary School, were chosen to receive  some of the 4,000 backpacks distributed throughout the state.

Fahey said that in addition to receiving the new backpacks, the students will meet a number of new staff members. They include second grade teacher Rebecca Schaff; fourth grade teacher Amy LaPrell; literacy coach Kelly LaBonte; math interventionist Nathan Merrill, who transferred from Oxford Elementary School; speech clinician Yvonne Carter; and education technician Nina Douglas.

A new art teacher and another fourth grade teacher are expected to be hired in the next few weeks.

The new Paris Elementary School hires will join some 68 other new hires throughout the district this year. The new hires were introduced at a morning staff meeting Monday.

School opens at Waterford and West Paris elementary schools for grades kindergarten through, and grade seven at Oxford Hills Middle School in Paris and grade nine at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on Wednesday, Aug. 28. The remainder of the students start school Thursday.

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