First day of school begins with strong foundation at Smallwood Drive Elementary in Amherst


Many kids around Western New York are now back in school, and that includes kids at Smallwood Drive Elementary in the Amherst School District. 

There were lots of smiles at the school as kids got of the bus, around 7:30 Wednesday morning. The Assistant Principal, Rich Crozier, was out front giving fist bumps to the kids as they walked into the school for their first day. 

“I’m excited to be on the top floor because the top floor is halfway to being the leaders of the school,” Reese Greber, a third grader, said. 

But not matter what floor these students are on, the teachers and leaders of Smallwood want to make sure these students are engaged and successful this upcoming year. 

“Of course we’re focusing on those important ABCs, but here at Smallwood, and in Amherst in general, we’re focusing on the Cs,” said Patti McCabe, a third grade teacher. “My hopes for this year is that my students feel that they’re connected, not just to me, but to each other (and) to every member of our faculty and staff; that they’re feeling capable; and most importantly, that they have a voice and they’re able to contribute to our community.”

“We created the acronym PAWS,” Principal Dan Lewis, said. “PAWS stands for: Practice being a friend; always be respectful; work to learn and grow; and safety first., and we’ve created PAWS system throughout our entire building.”

All the teachers at the school received a rock before the start of school this year. Both the principal and assistant principal at Smallwood say the school already has a strong foundation, but they’re going to build on that foundation and have a great year. There’s a larger rock, attached to the new Rockstar of the Month award. Every month, a teacher will be chosen for that honor. 

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