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Date of Issue: August 23, 2007

AME opens for 2007-08 term

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Allie Connelly hugs her mom Holly before she begins her first day of kindergarten in teacher Maureen Lovelandís class at Anna Maria Elementary School, 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Islander Photos: Joanie Mills
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Maya and Lauren Sapienza arrive to the AME campus Monday morning for the first day of the new school year.
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AME kindergarten teacher Maureen Loveland leads her students to their room after an orientation in the school auditorium Monday.

Anna Maria Elementary School and other Manatee County School District students headed for the classrooms Monday to begin the 2007-08 term.

The new school year arrived with a new schedule - the biggest adjustment being an early-out on Wednesday for students.

At Anna Maria Elementary School, personnel and pupils found the atmosphere celebratory. Teachers officially returned to the campus Aug. 13 to prepare for students’ arrival Aug. 20.

“Smoothest opening day I have seen in 33 years,” said AME Principal Tom Levengood, giving credit to the smooth but bustling back-to-school morning to personnel and “the most cooperative parents I have ever met.”

For the parents of children new to the school - those who have transferred and kindergarteners - the PTO hosted a breakfast and orientation Monday.

Levengood said the program was well-attended and parents learned “what to expect when you come to Anna Maria Elementary.”

Meanwhile, in the classrooms, students also began an orientation.

“The first several days, teachers are really doing an orientation,” Levengood said, adding that students would probably write and talk about their summer breaks.

“By the end of the week they are reading, writing and doing their math,” he added.

The teaching staff for the new year has remained the same as last year, but one teacher, Jackie Goens, will teach fourth-grade instead of fifth-grade.

District Superintendent Roger Dearing ushered in the new year in a letter to parents and personnel. The school year, he said, “is a time for parents, teachers and administrators to rededicate ourselves to the cause that is closest to our hearts - the welfare and education of our students, for they are truly Manatee County’s future.”

The new schedule for 2007-08 is called a “modified instructional week.” Elementary school begins at 8:30 a.m. and lets out at 3:05 p.m., except Wednesdays, when class ends at 1:15 p.m. Middle school students attend from 9:15 a.m. to 3:55 p.m. except Wednesdays, when school ends at 2:10 p.m. High school students attend from 7:45 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., except Wednesdays, when school lets out at 12:30 p.m.