HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Classes begin Monday in the Harrisburg School District, and despite issues with textbooks and staff in the past, officials say this school year will be different.
The district is the first in the Midstate to kick off classes, which start on August 17.
Susan Johnson has been teaching in the Harrisburg School District for 24 years. She’s been preparing for another year teaching 5th grade language arts at Camp Curtin Academy all summer.
“Teachers are dedicated here. They’re going to do whatever it takes to make it happen so that when the bell rings Monday morning, we’re ready to go,” Johnson said.
The district had a problem two years ago with not having enough textbooks, but they say, that won’t be an issue this year.
“The principals have been working all summer long with our administration downtown. One of the things we have done is we have ordered books in a timely manner this year. From my talks with other principals in the district, everyone’s books are ordered, and things are on track to have a successful school year,” said Leroy McClain, assistant principal at Camp Curtin Academy.
Math teacher David MacIntire is also the Harrisburg School District’s 2014/15 High School Teacher of the Year. He says technology is an important part of his teaching, and he works with the supplies he is given.
“We work very hard to use, even if it’s been cuts or anything like that, the limited resources we have and stretch them as far as we can. We tend to become very creative people, and I think in that creativity, you get some of your best work,” MacIntire said.
The district has hired 55 new teachers and now has around 600 total, including more male teachers.
“A lot of our students lack that male role model or that male figure in their homes, so to provide for them here in always a positive,” McClain said.
Teachers have a message for parents and students heading into the new school year.
“I just want the kids to know that I love them, I respect them, and I will do for my students what I would expect anybody to do for my own three children,” Johnson said.
Enrollment has remained steady since last year, with 6,300 to 6,500 students in the district’s 11 schools. The district will know the exact enrollment by October 1.