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Back-to-School Prep a Family Affair

Second-grade teacher Michelle Amaranto prepares her classroom at Barnum School.

Even before their first official day back, many teachers spend days preparing their classrooms, supplies, and lessons. This Monday was the first day Bridgeport schools were opened up so teachers could get back into their classrooms, and teachers at Barnum School were setting up bright and early, but they weren’t alone.

Several of the teachers prepping their classrooms had help from family members as they took on the many tasks necessary to get everything student-ready.

Second-grade teacher Michelle Amaranto had help from her brother to move furniture and post items high-up on bulletin boards.

Amaranto said she’s excited for her 21st year of teaching to begin next week.

Isabella will be starting second grade at Barnum soon, but for now she’s helping her mom, fifth-grade teacher Lisa Quinones, put away school supplies.

“I’m looking forward to having my children be very successful. I want to make sure they’re confident and know that they have the ability to succeed at whatever they set their minds to,” she said.

But it’s not all about academics. One of the displays Amaranto was attaching to a bulletin board had tips and strategies for combating bullying.

“I’d like to have the students learn to treat each other well and behave like brothers and sisters,” she said.

Fifth-grade teacher Lisa Quinones is looking forward to being able to provide more one-on-one instruction to students this year thanks to having a smaller class.

Upstairs in the fifth-grade wing, Lisa Quinones’ brought her husband, son, and daughter along to help set up her classroom. While her daughter Isabella, a soon-to-be second grader, helped put away new pens and notebooks, her teenage son Anthony helped make sure the computer at Quinones’ desk was working correctly.

Barnum is a turnaround arts school that involves many students in putting on a musical production each year.

This year the school is planning to perform The Lion King, and Quinones thinks it will be a great opportunity for some of her students to take part. She’s also looking forward to her school’s annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration where students dress-up as famous Latin Americans.

One of the things Quinones said she is most looking forward to, however, is being better able to meet her students’ needs thanks to having fewer students in her class.

“As of right now, I only have 24 students in my class, rather than the 29 or 30 I’ve had in recent years. I’m extremely excited about that,” Quinones said.

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