YES Prep is back in person and students are buzzing with excitement to reconnect with friends, teachers and other familiar faces. Last school year, we started the first day of school virtually and we had students join us back on campus throughout the school year. However, for many of our students who hadn’t been on campus since March 2019, this first day of school was extra special.
Last fall would have also marked the grand opening of our first two elementary schools –YES Prep North Central Elementary and YES Prep Southeast Elementary. Due to the pandemic, they started the new school year online and opened their doors afterwards to students who came to in-person learning. This year, we had the honor of physically opening the doors and welcoming ALL our elementary students on the very first day. This year also included the introduction of two newly opened YES Prep elementary schools — YES Prep Southside Elementary and YES Prep North Forest Elementary.
School is now in session
Our new elementary schools rang their school bells for the first time on Monday, August 16, and by 8 a.m. our once-empty hallways were filled with the excitement of pre-k, kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade kids, and third graders over at North Central and Southeast Elementary.
As YES Prep families walked back to their cars and staff nestled into their classrooms, one may catch a group of second graders sitting in a semi-circle, participating in an icebreaker activity. Or notice pre-kindergarteners standing socially distant in the classroom, where they are learning a new YES Prep Sparks chant. Most importantly, all throughout the school children were thrilled to participate and interact with each other for the first time.
First day of school excitement for staff too
It was not just students ready to get back to school either. Teachers and staff members fed off the energy of students and vice versa. Andrea Citchen, the principal of YES Prep Southside Elementary, shared how giddy she was about children returning to the classroom. “The highlight of my week was to see the excitement and joy in the eyes of our Sparks. They were so thrilled to be back to some sense of normalcy.”
Over at YES Prep North Forest Elementary, Principal Johnie Flores spent her first week with students and appreciating the opportunity to give back to her community. “Being back in the community that raised me has been an incredible experience. It’s important that we take care of the generations that follow us and there’s no better place to do that than right here in the neighborhood.”
Across our four YES Prep elementary schools, the first week back lit a “spark” with our youth. We cannot wait for next school year when we welcome the next two elementary schools in the East End and Northline communities.
If you know someone with elementary-age children who live in one of these six communities, invite them to check out our elementary program. The new YES Prep elementary schools are open to pre-Kindergarten through second-grade students and grow into grades third through fifth in subsequent years. To learn more about our programs and why families are choosing YES Prep elementary visit here https://www.yesprep.org/schools/elementary.