• 59°

Westside welcomes DHS class of 2019

Registration: It’s not a word that inspires most parents of 4-year-olds to let their little boys or girls tag along.

But today and tomorrow open Kindergarten Registration at Westside Elementary School, and the children are encouraged to come along, too.

“We always looking forward to seeing the new children for the upcoming year,” Terri Speegle – one of the school’s 11 kindergarten teachers – said. “This is when we get to see all the kids and spend some one-on-one time with them. We love it, and it thrills the children to show us what they already know.”

Registration runs from noon to 2:30 p.m. today and Friday at Westside, which is located at 1724 Mauvilla Drive, just off Maria Avenue.

Westside’s kindergarten classes will be released at 11:30 this morning, to free up Speegle and her colleagues to spend time with next year’s little learners and have some”general conversation to ease their anxieties a little bit.”

“We’re excited, because can see what we’re going to have next year,” she added, “and they’re excited to be taking this step, so it’s really a good day.”

Parents will need to bring all the usual necessary documents, Westside principal Mary Glass said, including social security card, birth certificate, and immunization sheet. The parents and students might have to wait a little while, and then start filling out paperwork, but after that, it’s all about the students.

They’ll have a chance to show off the skills they already have, like counting and ABCs. They’ll also be fingerprinted, Demopolis Pilot Club member Carol Squires said. The Pilot Club has sponsored the fingerprinting service for more than five years, Squires said.

Why get fingerprints for a child’s file at such an early age?

“My granddaughter asked me the same thing, the other day why did she have to get ink on her hands?” Squires said. “But with our kids, we want to make sure that if something happened, we could prove who they are,”

This year’s kindergarten class, has around 198 students, Glass said.

Among the new programs offered for kindergarteners is the Universal Voyager Reading Program. The program was launched this year and it’s among its notable features, students are put in a virtual reading lockdown, in which interruptions are allowed only for the most serious reasons. The program is already paying off, Glass added.

“We certainly have seen progress in our (reading test) scores,” she said. “Although we were already doing very well, our scores have come up and the students are doing even better.”

Speegle and Glass agreed that Kindergarten Registration is a big deal at Westside. But it’s important to make sure the little ones know, Speegle said, that this is only registration.

“Some of the children think they’re coming for the first time that day,” she said. “We don’t want the little ones to be disappointed because think they’re going to start.”

– david.goodwin@demopolistimes.com