PARIS — School Administrative District 17 administrators told directors Tuesday night, Sept. 3, the school year had started with a focus on connectedness among students and staff.

School started last week for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Prekindergarten pupils began the school year Tuesday.

D.J. Thorne, principal of Hebron Station School, said last year began with the Start with Hello initiative of the Sandy Hook Promise to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness during the first week of school.

“When we met as a group on the first day of school this year, I told everyone to stand up if someone greeted them this morning,” he said. “Every student and teacher stood up. It was a great start.”

Paris Elementary School pupils now start each day with responsive classroom morning meetings, Principal Lori Pacholski said.

“The idea is to make sure every student has been greeted and included in the morning meeting,” she said. “It’s really great to go around and catch the morning meetings and see students involved in their classes.”

Principal Doug Kilmister said the days leading up to opening day for Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway were suspenseful.

“A week prior, you would walk down the hall and see ceiling tiles out of place and exposed pipes,” he said. “By the time we opened, the building was immaculate.”

A project to replace a 50-year-old heating system was not completed prior to the first day of school because of equipment shipping delays. Workers switched to second shift last week to not interfere with the school day. The work is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Many administrators acknowledged the work of custodial staff in their efforts to get the buildings ready for school.

“It is nice to see life on our campuses,” Oxford Hills Middle School Principal Brian Desilets. “The schools are full of students during the day and our fields are full of athletes in the evening.”

“Based on my walk-throughs of the schools, people are happy to be back and things are going well,” Superintendent Rick Colpitts said.

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