Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 18, 2012

Stillwater students go back to school Monday

STILLWATER, Okla. — Sue Ann Hoffman isn’t planning on getting much sleep Sunday night.

She never does on the eve of the first day of school, and there has been a lot of first days for the veteran Stillwater educator.

Hoffman, 60, will begin her 39th year of teaching — all at Stillwater High School — when school begins Monday.

“It’s always the same the night before school starts,” said Hoffman, who is a business and technology teacher. “It’s always running through your head what you are going to do the next day. It’s like a nervous excitement, and it’s exactly the same every year the night before school starts.”

Kendra League can relate to that. League, a 26-year-old math teacher at the high school, said she will feel  “a little nervous” on the first day of school.

“I (taught) at the junior high last year, and I was a student teacher at the high school in the spring of 2011,” she said. “So I will be familiar with the building and the faculty and some of the students. But still the nerves will be there.”

League said one of her goals this year will be to adjust and be flexible in the classroom.

“Sometimes you can plan too much,” she said.

Even though Hoffman has been teaching for 38 years, she said she is still learning how to teach.

“If you think you have it all figured out, you have it way wrong,” she said. “I learn something new every year. We have new curriculums, new technology, new software. That keeps it fresh for me. I’m always learning something. I thankful that I still love what I do.”

Hoffman said that she has taught the parents of many of the students in her class.

“But the first one to say, ‘you taught my grandma,’ then I’m outta here,” she said.

Hoffman and League are two of hundreds of teachers who will be standing in front of a classroom of students on Monday.

Stillwater Superintendent Dr. Ann Caine said there is “a great air of excitement in our school system. It’s great to be back in school.”

Caine said that enrollment in the district could exceed 5,900 students.

“Our classes are full,” she said. “We’ll have firm numbers on that around Labor Day.”

Stillwater High School principal Uwe Gordon said that as of Thursday morning, 1,090 students were enrolled at the high school.

“That’s close to the biggest number of students I have seen in my six years here at the high school,” said Gordon.

Gordon said the high school has added a senior-level course in engineering. Introduction to Engineering will be taught by math teacher Mark Thomas and science teacher Tracy Fugate. They will be working with Oklahoma State University engineering professor Dr. Karen High.

Gordon said the course, which has 38 students enrolled, is designed to evolve into an Advanced Placement course.

“We are experimenting with it and want it to be recognized by the College Board as an AP level course,” said Gordon.

Although classes begin on Monday, high school activities began several weeks ago with football, softball and volleyball practices and games. Student organizations and clubs also have been meeting.

“We’ve seen a lot of the students,” said Gordon.

Gordon said he is still looking to hire several teacher’s aides.

Transportation director Matt Parsel said bus routes are in place.


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