Last year, Haycock Elementary School asked parents how they thought the school could improve, and the answer came back loud and clear.
"We held some meetings last year and found out that community building is one of our biggest issues," said Maureen Boland, principal of Haycock. "Parents said they didn't feel connected enough to the school."
Boland was the assistant principal at Haycock for the past three years, this is her first year as principal.
"So the biggest thing for this year is going to be working on community building at Haycock, not only in the classrooms with the kids, but across the grade levels and with the teachers and parents," said Boland.
In keeping with the community building focus, the school revamped its Back to School night format, breaking it down into smaller groups based on grade level. Boland said the goal was to create a more intimate setting for teacher-parent interactions. In addition, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) plans to coordinate community service projects for each grade level at the school.
"Every grade level has a representative who is there to help build an identity for that grade by planning activities," said Jeanie Thomas, co-president of the PTA. "So they are going to plan one social event and one charitable community event that the kids can all get behind."
The PTA also has several schoolwide events planned, including an upcoming Halloween party, a Skate Night, International Night in Feburary and the ever popular spring Fun Fair.
"We want every child that comes to the school to feel party of Haycock and part of the community, and we also want the parents to feel that way," said Thomas.
In addition to welcoming new assistant principal Kelly Sheers, the school also hired four new fourth grade teachers, and two new art teachers.
This year the school will also undergo a boundary study to determine new boundary lines for the Haycock Gifted and Talented center.
"Right now we're a little overcrowded," said Boland.