First-grader Jonah Marshall learns the etiquette of using the bathrooms during his first day at Hayden Valley Elementary School.

Photo by Zach Fridell

First-grader Jonah Marshall learns the etiquette of using the bathrooms during his first day at Hayden Valley Elementary School.

Hayden begins school year

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An open house for Hayden schools

What: An open house for Hayden schools

When: Hayden Valley Elementary, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. today; Hayden Middle School and Hayden High School, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Tuesday was a day of discovery for Hayden Valley Elementary School first-grader Christian Aamodt, who began the new academic year by being introduced to the school library, school policies and school regulations, not to mention his teacher and classmates.

For Hayden Valley Elementary School Principal Rhonda Sweetser, it was just busy.

The school's enrollment has increased about 10 students from last year, although the numbers will continue to fluctuate in the first week as students and parents settle and continue to enroll, she said.

The increase came primarily from students transferring into the district, although district numbers appear to be relatively even compared to the official count from last year.

Hayden High School will have a decrease of about seven students, Principal Troy Zabel said.

Although Tuesday was the first official day of class in Hayden, high school activities already are under way. About 90 of the school's 154 students are in football, volleyball or cheerleading, Zabel said. Although participation has always been strong, Zabel said the percentage of students involved increased this year because the programs' successes have interested more students.

The school's student council also is gearing up for a year of activities, co-sponsor Amy Hansen said.

The group of eight representatives and five officers, along with Hansen and co-sponsor Susan Koehler, held a three-day, two-night retreat during the summer to plan for the year. The retreat allowed students to have a larger role in planning the activities, as well as carrying them out, Hansen said.

"We also want to do more rewards this year," she said. "Instead of the old system of punishing kids for being bad, we want to reward them for being good."

That project will dovetail with the school's new T.I.G.E.R. program that has students meet once a week for character education and college planning.

The acronym stands for trustworthy, industrious, genuine, enthusiastic and respectful and will be used as a model for students, Zabel said.

The Hayden chapter of the National Honor Society is planning monthly projects for its 21 members, said sponsor Betty Fink.

Fink said the group plans to erect a "Wall of Fame" to recognize notable Hayden High School graduates, as well as monthly community service initiatives.

The NHS will help at the Haven Assisted Living Center's Halloween party as well as the annual November food drive and Toys for Tots toy drive at the end of the year.

"We are also trying to start up a knowledge bowl," Fink said. "We have quite a few individuals interested."

Hayden Middle School's enrollment is down about four students at the beginning of the year, but none of the preliminary enrollment figures becomes official until Oct. 6. Enrollment on that date will determine the amount of state funding the district will receive for the year.

The middle school and high school will hold an open house from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The elementary school open house is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. today.

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208

or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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