- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

The school year began less than a month ago, but area teachers are expecting to start all over again, after nearly a week off from school as a result of Hurricane Isabel.

“It will be hard to get back in the routine,” said Noah Steinberg, a first-grade teacher at John Eaton Elementary School in Northwest, where school has been out since Thursday. “For the children, its like we had a minivacation, so getting back will be a bit of a challenge.”

Mr. Steinberg said his expectations, however, won’t change when classes resume.

“We’ll just jump full speed ahead and the high expectations that we have will remain the same,” he said.

Caroline Alexander, a science teacher at the Barnesville School in Montgomery County, was back in the classroom yesterday, and said keeping the attention of her students was difficult because many were more interested in how she made it through the storm than getting down to business.

“They all wanted to know if my lights had gone off and what happened to me,” said Miss Alexander, who teaches third- through sixth-grade science at the small, private school in rural Montgomery County, which opened two hours late yesterday.

“It was especially hard because this is right at the beginning of the school year, and I had planned the first chapter test [of the year,] and then of course Isabel changed all that,” she said.

Sophie Furr, who teaches eighth-grade English and social studies at Sudbrook Magnet Middle School in Baltimore County, said her students will be ready to get back and she is not expecting any problems.

“I notice the big difference between the sixth grade [students I have taught in the past] and the eighth-graders. The eighth-graders are ready and we [teachers] are ready to get back,” said Miss Furr.

Baltimore County public schools, like public schools in Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County in Maryland, as well as public schools in the District and a few select schools in Northern Virginia, remained closed yesterday.

Most local jurisdictions will open on time today. A decision on several schools in Anne Arundel County was going to be made early this morning and 24 schools in Montgomery County without power will be closed today.

The teachers said keeping their students on schedule and focused will just take some creativity.

“We can take a few things out of the curriculum to make sure we stay on track, [but] every year, whether it be a hurricane or a blizzard, we always have something happen that makes us have to crunch, so this is not something we can’t handle,” she added.

“[The teachers] might have to go backwards a little and review some of the basic rules, but academically, overall, we will do fine,” said Mr. Steinberg.

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