The first day excitement was palpable as students lined up outside Burlington Elementary School on Wednesday.
Parents waved goodbye as the first bell rang and students headed in, with a back to school assembly scheduled for the morning.
St. Vrain Valley School District students return to class this week, with first through fifth grades and sixth and ninth graders starting class on Wednesday, seventh through eighth and 10th through 12th on Thursday and kindergarten on Friday.
This school year is Erica Bowman’s first year as principal at Burlington, though not her first time being a principal. She was principal at Mountain View Elementary from 2002 to 2008 and has spent the last 14 years in special education administration for the district.
“This opened and I felt called to come back to a building,” Bowman said
The first day of school was going well as of Wednesday morning, she added. The atmosphere was positive with an excitement to finally move past the tumult of the pandemic.
“You know, our slogan is, ‘It’s a new day at Burlington,’” she said. “So we’re really focusing on having a positive mindset and letting go of the past two and a half years and moving forward.”
While Bowman wasn’t at Burlington for those challenging times, she said its effects are still present.
“I think we’re doing a really good job of being intentional about letting it go and focusing on the now,” she said.
Including Bowman, Burlington Elementary added nine new staff members, so there’s been a lot of work on community and relationship building to start the school year.
This year is Marques Novak’s first as Burilington’s physical education teacher and his third year teaching. A St. Vrain graduate, he said the school and community have been great so far.
“The staff is really inviting and has a good community vibe,” he said. “It’s nice to be back in the district.”
Walking through the halls of the elementary school as students settled into their classrooms, Bowman explained that her biggest goal for her first year as principal is to champion everyone’s success.
“My big hope for the school year is that teachers and students feel supported to be the best that they can be at being teachers and students,” Bowman said. “It’s my job to facilitate that and to support that.”