Phila. School District prepares for Opening Day

WEST PHILADELPHIA - August 29, 2012

Samuel L. Powell Elementary School in Powelton Village is one of 244 schools in the district set to open next Friday.

This week, principals, teacher and other staff members are fully engaged in getting their classrooms ready for the district's 147,000 students.

At Samuel L. Powell, the maintenance crew spent Wednesday moving bookshelves and other classroom furniture for the school's 260 students.

Kindergarten teacher Sarah Labov was doing some of the same.

"I come in about 2-3 weeks early and first thing I do is set up all the furniture," she said, "because we need to be able to gather together in a big group. I need to be able to work with them in small groups, and they need to be able to scatter and work alone."

"Teacher Sarah," as her students call her, says kindergarten is the new first grade.

"They come excited," she said. "They're the most excited, and they want to learn, and they are very proud of what they can already do."

5-year-old Bri Cunningham proved that point when he and his mom came to register for school Wednesday.

Upstairs, teacher Chris Powers was sprucing up his 4th grade classroom while his student teacher set up the computers.

"It just gets my brain kicked back into full school gear," said Powers.

Principal Kim Ellerbee has been putting the finishing touches on the school's safety plan.

"That plan basically details the procedures and systems that are in place in the event of a school emergency," said Ellerbee.

The district says its schools are 95% ready to open Friday, September 7th for a half day of classes. Monday the 10th is the start of the first full week of school.

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