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Our first week back at school

For parents, students, and school staff across the county, the last few weeks have gone by in a blur.  Parents’ calendars have been full of new enrollments, registrations, haircuts, clothes and shoes shopping, and doctor’s appointments, while school board members, teachers, and staff members were busy planning open houses, school orientations, “Meet the Teacher” nights, and filling backpack and t-shirt drive orders in preparation for the incoming class of 2022 – 2023. 

If your children were as excited as mine, you probably found yourself counting down to the big “Back to School” day.

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Now that the first week of school has come and gone, I’ve found myself reflecting over the whole experience quite a bit, and I wondered how many parents found themselves doing the same. 

The first day of school marked the beginning of a new adventure in our household, as this was not just Josie’s first day of kindergarten, but also our first time being apart as a family since the beginning of the pandemic in March, 2020. As excited as we were that she would not have to miss her old friends, her teachers, or stay behind any longer as she watched the neighborhood kids make their way to their bus stops, we also couldn’t help feeling a little apprehensive for her as well.

Many nights I lay awake, recounting all the things Josie and I had gone over, wondering if I had prepared her well enough to adapt to her new surroundings, or if she would feel overwhelmed, shut down, and withdraw into herself.  I wondered if I had made the right choices in schooling Josie at home, until the world made sense again, or if, ultimately my decision had held her back.

It didn’t take long to find the answers to these questions and form new alliances. Our fears were laid to rest by the conversations we had with the capable and caring staff of Lincoln Elementary school.

Office Secretary Sharon Martin, who patiently allowed us to voice our concerns, and graciously answered every single question, assuring us that our values were in complete alignment with that of Lincoln Elementary, has quickly become one of my favorite staff members.

Josie’s Principal, Matthew McFarland is without a doubt the best principal a parent could ask for their child. I don’t believe there is a parent out there who wouldn’t find comfort in the knowledge that their child’s principal is looking after them with the same responsibility they would show for their own.  

I further appreciated that Dr. McFarland made it a point to take time out of his schedule, regardless of the meeting he was in, to address my concerns for my daughter.

Josie’s teacher, Mrs. Lush, knocked it out of the ballpark. It is hard to put into words how much we appreciate knowing Josie will feel confident, knowing where to go and what’s expected of her, who her teachers will be, and the ability to trust in the school staff.

We value the knowledge that Mrs. Lush wants our daughter to succeed as much as we do. Josie’s new skills in how to use a laptop, and how to send us video messages and hear our responses in return, has helped all of us tremendously during the first few days of school, and is something we continue to look forward to with our younger children.

I would like to hear from you about your experiences. What would you like to share about your children’s first week back? Did you encounter the same fears as I had about sending your children back to school in a post pandemic world?  Or have you already moved past that? What measures have you implemented, or not implemented, to protect your children?  How did your children react to the news that they would be starting school, and what did you do to prepare them?  Was there anything the schools might have done to make the transition easier for the parents or their children, and what stood out the most? How did the week’s actual events play out differently than your expectations?  And are your children still excited about going to school for their second week?

Please leave you comments at the bottom of this story (no signup required) or shoot me an email at

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Holly Weaver, Reporter, was raised by two United States Marine Corps sergeants in West Chester Pennsylvania. She is a wife and a mother to four children. She tries to live by and teach my children that while every day may not be good, there is something good to be found in every day.

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Alexis stultz
Alexis stultz
6 months ago

My first days in kindergarten were scary, but Dr. Mcfarland was always willing to help but now as a 5th grader I’m getting ready to go to the middle school across the street. After being in Lincoln for 5-6 years of my life I’ve formed a strong bond with all of my teachers including Dr. Mcfarland and I’m sure your daughter will do the same. I can’t say I’m happy to go to the middle school but I can’t say I’m not. But just know if you have any other concerns in the future feel free to message Dr. Mcfarland.

Elizabeth Wills
Elizabeth Wills
1 year ago

My time with my daughters and Kindergarten has long since passed. But I remember how tiny they looked standing next to the TIRE of the school bus! And both of them were mad they didn’t learn to read that first day.

Holly Weaver
Holly Weaver
1 year ago

How right you are❤️. By the 2nd day, my sweet Josie was so distraught and in tears, begging me to go to class with her. It broke my heart to see her so upset, but after some “Mommy and Josie” time, reminding her of all the effort her teachers, principal, and other staff members put into making her transition as safe and exciting as possible, and assuring her of how proud her dad and I were of her, she finally began to believe in herself that she could do this. During the whole of Labor day weekend, she has been… Read more »

Susan Wine
Susan Wine
1 year ago

Holly, I belong to KPETS, (Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services). For a number of years we have teams at Lincoln Elementary on the first two days of school to meet and greet the new and returning students. I have always been impressed with the staff there. Any student that was hesitant or unsure where to go was greeted and escorted into their room and teacher. It makes me hopeful for the future that our young minds are in such good hands.

Holly Weaver
Holly Weaver
1 year ago
Reply to  Susan Wine

Hi Susan,
As the proud owners of a service dog ourselves, I cannot tell you how excited I was to hear of KPETS involvement with the school.
That spoke volumes to me about the level of care this school was, and is willing to pour into it’s students, as well as the compassion shown for every child and their well being.
Will you be coming to the school at any other time during the school year?
Thank you so much for reaching out and your kind words of comfort. I hope they reach and comfort many more families.

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