Students, parents, PTO begin ‘exceptional’ school year

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AME kindergarten teacher Kelly Crawford welcomes student Jack Palmer and his mother, Lauren, Aug. 12 on the first day of school. With her left hand in a cast, says Crawford, “I’m going to show my brand new students who sometimes tell me how they can’t write or read, that we are in this together and, for once, this lefty will be right.” Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
AME fifth-grader Kaiyla Mitchell, left, with mother Chawntel Mackey and fourth-grade daughter Tah Alieya hug at the Holmes Beach school. Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
AME art teacher Gary Wooten leads a group of bus-riding students from the bus to the reception area on the first day of the 2019-20 school year. Classes began Aug. 12. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
Anna Maria Elementary welcomes students Aug. 12 for the 2019-20 school year. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
AME third-grade students Colin Bankert and John Monetti walk towards the school entrance ahead of Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer, Aug. 12 on the first day of school. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer opens the door and welcomes students and parents on the first day of school. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
Anna Maria Elementary’s staff in the front office serve parents, new and returning students and staff, especially with questions about the new year, at the start of the first day of school, Aug. 12. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
AME students line up to check out for breakfast Aug. 12. Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
AME children sit in a line with books before the first class begins on the first day of school. Islander Photo: Nenita Gollamudi
Students reunite Aug. 12 at Anna Maria Elementary, ready to start a new school year. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison
The Anna Maria Elementary school cafeteria bustles Aug. 12 with students, staff and parents on the first day of the 2019-20 school year. Islander Photo: Brook Morrison

By Brook Morrison

Islander Reporter

There is no question the A-grade “little school by the bay” is a tight community.

Anna Maria Elementary principal Jackie Featherston said Aug. 9 that she is “looking forward to seeing all of our students motivated to learn and grow in a positive learning environment, creating waves of great island memories.”

AME fifth-grader Heidi Querrard said she was happy to go back to school for her last year as she greeted third-grade students and parents in her mother Bridget’s classroom Aug. 8 during back-to-school night.

Bridget Querrard taught kindergarten for eight years at AME before being moved to the third-grade this year due to low kindergarten enrollment.

Querrard’s experience teaching fourth-grade for 10 years, as well as receiving National Board Certification in literacy, reading and language arts for early and middle childhood, prepared her for a “great third-grade year,” she said.

Several of Querrard’s former kindergarten students will be in her third-grade class.

Ceegan Cusack is one such boy. He said he is “very lucky to have” Querrard as his teacher again.

All 2018-2019 staff and teachers returned to AME for 2019-20, according to Featherston.

The 2019-20 school year will be filled with new memories and a focus on academic achievement.

New in 2020, there will be a time capsule with artifacts and drawings buried on the school grounds, similar to the capsule buried in 1994 and opened in May.

AME students will benefit from the “small classroom sizes, high standards and caring community feel,” said parent Meghann Bankert who has first- and third-grade students enrolled at AME.

Life is good when you’re an AME student.

And also when you are an AME parent, teacher or principal.

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