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Teachers prepare for school year

An inspirational quote hangs on the wall in Hart's classroom, saying "It's not about being the best, it's about being better than you were yesterday." Hart said she looks forward to helping each child grow to their best potential.

An inspirational quote hangs on the wall in Hart’s classroom, saying “It’s not about being the best, it’s about being better than you were yesterday.” Hart said she looks forward to helping each child grow to their best potential.

Many students returning to school may be nervous and excited about the new school year, and they aren’t alone — local educators say they are happily anticipating meeting their new students.

“It’s always exciting,” Ronnye Hart said.”I always say I sleep less the night before than probably the students do. I’m excited, nervous and curious about what’s going to happen. But it’s always fun getting in to the routine.”

Hart is a third grade teacher at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center. Sabrina Smith, who teaches kindergarten at Mamie Martin Elementary School, is just as excited to start the school year.

“It’s nervous and exciting but fun and you learn so much from the kids because they are all different, and there are special things about all of them,” Smith said. “In the first couple days they open up, and you learn about them.”

Ronnye Hart, who teaches third grade at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center, arranges the bookshelf in her classroom. Teachers across the county are preparing for the school year to begin .

Ronnye Hart, who teaches third grade at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center, arranges the bookshelf in her classroom. Teachers across the county are preparing for the school year to begin .

With first days approaching at Brookhaven School District, Lincoln County School District and Mississippi School of the Arts, teachers are busy preparing to usher in students. Decorating classrooms with new eye-popping decorations and re-arranging classrooms are just part of what teachers do in preparation for the school year.

“The students and the parents appreciate the decorative side of it,” Hart said. “Teachers have to spend time with lesson plans, activities and things that are behind the scenes that nobody knows about that have to get done. I spend hours and hours thinking about what we are going to teach and how are we going to teach it.”

As an example, Hart said this year teachers at Bogue Chitto will be teaching chapter books for reading instead of textbooks. Hart said she is excited about teaching that way and believes standardized test scores will improve because of it.

Smith said that each year Mamie Martin has a different theme, and this year’s theme includes owl decorations with the slogan “Hoot hoot! Who’s got the smarted kids around? Martin Elementary!”

Hart staples a letter onto a board of decorations about "love of learning". Hart encourages parents to establish a routine bedtime and make sure students are eating breakfast.

Hart staples a letter onto a board of decorations about “love of learning”. Hart encourages parents to establish a routine bedtime and make sure students are eating breakfast.

Hart and Smith noted the importance of a return to routine when asked to give advice to parents about helping their child prepare for the school year.

“Establish a routine bedtime,”Hart said. “Make sure your child is eating breakfast at school or at home and get back into reading every night if that’s not something they’ve done over the summer. Twenty minutes at night is a great way to start off reading to or with your child.”

Hart also encouraged parents to get their children excited about school.

“Talk to your kids about school and what activities they will be doing,” Smith said. “It may be a nervous time, but they will enjoy it. Pump them up about it.”

The first day of school in the Brookhaven School District is Thursday. The Brookhaven School District includes Mamie Martin Elementary School, Fannie Mullins School, Brookhaven Elementary School, Lipsey School, Alexander Junior High School, Brookhaven High School and Brookhaven Technical Center. Lincoln County School District schools (West Lincoln Attendance Center, Loyd Star Attendance Center, Bogue Chitto Attendance Center and Enterprise Attendance Center) begin school on Aug. 10. Mississippi School of the Arts students move in this weekend.