ENGLEWOOD - For Cerri Norris, on the first day of first grade, first impressions can go a long way. She makes sure to greet every student and every parent when they arrive at school.
"Well, a lot of parents, you know, are still kind of nervous," Norris said.
Norris teaches first Grade at Cherrelyn Elementary in Englewood. 9News has decided to follow her class from the first day of school through the last day for a project called "Class of 2025". The idea is to explore a variety of social and academic issues through the kids in this class in this small school district located in the middle of the Metro area.
"So much of what we do in here is outside of reading, writing, and math," Norris said. "We're working on social skills, emotional self-regulation, getting along with each other, cooperating."
Cherrelyn is a Title I school with so many kids coming from lower income families who qualify for free breakfast and lunch from the federal government that all kids receive free food. Eating breakfast before class is the routine in Norris' class.
"We know that some of our families are struggling to provide food for their children at times," Norris said.
Food helps spur thought, Norris says. She believes it's key for her eager students who are also trying to shake off the first day jitters.
"It's always interesting to see the kids on the first day cause I don't know what to expect," Norris said.
She makes sure her kids know all the rules of school including the procedure at lunch. Then, in the middle of performing academic work, she has her students move their bodies for "brain breaks" to get the blood flowing.
"That's going to increase their academic achievement as well as just give them a chance to be kids and move their bodies," Norris said.
Caitlyn Wright says she was excited to start first grade.
"I was never in first grade before," Caitlyn said. "She's going to teach me lots more stuff than the stuff I learned in kindergarten."
The Englewood School District is taking a unique approach in teaching its kids. Englewood is the first school district in Colorado to provide iPads to every student from kindergarten through 8th grade.
"This is where we're providing them with the skills that they need to continue learning," Norris said. "They will grow a ton from the beginning of first grade till the end of first grade."
9News will there through the last day.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)