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Parents Share Kids' Joy at Brookside Elementary

OSSINING, N.Y. – Like many other first grade students, Soledad Sanchez' son, Leonardo Sanchez, 6, is excited about going to Brookside Elementary School, and he tells his parents daily about things that happened in school.

"He really loves this school. It's really big and he loves that, and he likes his teachers," Soledad Sanchez said on first grade Back To School night as she scoured a wall of photos looking for a picture of her son's class.

Ken Volcjak said his daughter, Veronika Volcjak, also loves her new school.

"There are a lot of new things here that she didn't have at Park (Early Childhood Center), and it's an eye-opening experience. After the first week, it's 100 percent excitement," Ken Volcjak said.

As part of Brookside's "I Believe" theme, all students were required to hand in an illustrated paper telling what they believe they will accomplish this year, and what they believe they will accomplish in the future.

Veronika Volcjak wrote, "I believe this year I will learn more about nature and the Earth," and "I believe in the future I will graduate college and become an artist."

Other first graders' future goals varied from "I believe in the future I will become an ice cream maker," to "I believe in the future I will learn how to drive a car and become a news reporter."

During a presentation in front of parents on Back To School night Thursday, Principal Ann Dealy said 65 percent of the first grade Class of 2023 will go into careers that don't exist today.

"That shows how the world has changed in a very short time, and how it will change in the future," Dealy said.

Dealy also said that students in the Class of 2023 are expected to change jobs over 14 times during their career.

"We can't teach them in the same structure that we learned in," Dealy said. "When children were being prepared to work in assembly lines, they separated subjects into compartments. Today our Common Core standards across 48 states are focused on knowledge and the application of knowledge."

Sid and Wendy Bala said their son, Miles Bala, has been excitedly telling them about Brookside's composting.

"They do it after lunch, they throw their leftover food into the compost," Wendy Bala said. "They have a garden and a strong focus on nature."

Gardening is just one of many opportunities for "authentic experiences" where children can apply knowledge to actual experiences, Dealy said.

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