#CHS9Family together in person on the first day of school


Anjali Krishna

Tuesday was the first day of school in Coppell ISD. CHS9 students walk around the halls during passing period looking for their class. The building is full since there is no virtual learning option for grades 7-12 this year.

Iniya Nathan, CHS9 Editor

The first day of school at CHS9 on Tuesday starts with a crowded building, students roaming around trying to find classes and teachers in the hallways ready to help. 

Unlike the 2020-21 school year, virtual learning is not an option for grades 7-12 and all Coppell ISD students are learning in person. CHS9 Principal Cody Koontz shared his thoughts about this new school year.

What are the goals for the first days of school?

Any year this would be the same but especially this year we really want to establish a connection with students and that was a struggle last year, both in person and virtual. It didn’t feel the same to connect with teachers and build relationships. We want all of our students to know that they can be comfortable here, they belong here, they can be safe here. So our goal for the first day or two is to get to know our kids, making sure they feel welcome.

What is different about this year compared to the 2020-21 school year?

That teachers aren’t having to divide their attention between in person and virtual [school]. When that happened, they did the best they could and they did really well, but it was impossible to do either of those as good as it could’ve been if [either virtual or in person] was the only thing they were doing. Having [teachers] prepare for a year knowing that they’re only delivering instruction in person is going to make them better prepared. They feel a lot more comfortable with the students coming into class [with] a plan in place to deliver instruction that’s going to let [students] learn at a high level, whereas last year there was a lot of uncertainty trying to figure out how to do Zoom and live teaching at the same time. 

The mindset of our staff is in a better place. We know there’s a lot of different levels of concern out there and we acknowledge that and we’re going to do everything that we can to help keep our kids happy and healthy and safe.

What were some challenges for the staff while planning this year?

The biggest one we went through is with things changing so quickly, with the governor’s order, and the county judge’s order, and the Supreme Court’s order, back and forth. The one thing we felt pretty confident in planning for this year was that we were going to be in person and there was not going to be a virtual option. That gave some peace of mind and that teachers know to prepare for just one mode of learning and that allowed them to prepare a little bit easier than last year. 

Some of the other challenges though was just not knowing how the landscape was going to change. When we’re building the schedule and can’t control some of the factors, it becomes very difficult to make changes and there was a little bit of hesitancy with everything that we did knowing that circumstances can change. We feel very fortunate that what we thought was going to be is where we are at right now.

What health concerns do you have about the school environment and how are they being addressed?

Just knowing that we’re still dealing with COVID-19, variants and all those things, as a society we certainly have concerns. I see a lot of students that wear masks and I strongly encourage that. That adds a layer of security for people to feel comfortable, especially for larger groups of students that are in the same space. Every year, even before COVID, we’ve had to address students getting into each other’s personal space. It’s going to be unavoidable to have all of our students in the hall but we want to keep them moving, we don’t want them stopping and congregating in the hallways. Movement is good because you’re not staying in close contact with someone for an extended period of time so as much as we can afford that and accommodate that we’re doing that as well. 

We want to protect personal space, continue to encourage great hygiene, washing hands and using hand sanitizer. We have to have desks fairly close together but by managing and washing hands and not touching or getting into personal space helps. We’re taking all the measures that we can. 

What has been successful so far?

The environment that we try to create here. [Yesterday morning] was hectic, students were asking questions, but you look and there’s 15 staff members in a given spot helping kinds and showing grace and care and love and helping them feel comfortable. Nobody has got a bad question, nobody feels badly for not knowing where to go. We have the right people doing the right work and that’s a success. I love the new faces that we brought on to the staff. They’re the right kind of people to fit in with what we want to accomplish here and getting to see our new teachers in their classrooms and up and ready to go and the excitement that they have to welcome students, all of those things are successes.

For administrators, the first day of school is the best day of the entire year because we’ve been working like crazy for the last month of two and when the first day of school happens  and we get a chance to just appreciate that all that working is meaningful and that our students are where they need to be and that the right people are taking care of them. That’s a huge success that our kids in our classrooms, our teachers are doing what they do best. That’s why we do what we do.

Follow Iniya (@iniya_v) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.