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Monday, December 5, 2022


Aug. 27, 2002 – While Tuesday was the first day back to school for the territory's estimated 18,000 to 20,000 students at 38 different public schools, the focus in at least one St. John school was on parents.
"Do not drop your children off here and expect us to fix them," warned Shirley Joseph, principal at Julius E. Sprauve School at a morning assembly for second through sixth graders and their parents.
She said parents need to check their children's homework, discipline them when necessary and get involved with school activities to make sure they succeed in school.
Announcing a tougher discipline program for this school year, Joseph said that, while students will still receive counseling for behavior problems, she will be quicker to suspend than in previous years. The minimum suspension will be five days.
"We expect students to take responsibility for their behavior," she said.
Joseph also told the parents that the school has a psychologist available to help with school-related problems. And if parents just want to talk to her, their problems and concerns will remain confidential.
"I'm sure when we have problems at school, you have problems at home," Joseph said.
One parent agreed with Joseph's tough words. Edris Powell, who has children in the gifted program as well as grades seven and eight, said that parents should be involved in their children's school careers. "If you don't know your child, who is going to know your child?" Powell asked.
The principal announced a new Team Nutrition pilot program that will put vegetarian and better-balanced meals in the school cafeteria. Sprauve School will also no longer have soda in the vending machines.
Parents were reminded to notify the school if they change their address or phone number so they can be reached in an emergency.
Assistant principal Mario Francis reached out to the community to request volunteers help in the classroom, in the activity room and in the cafeteria.
While the parents may be glad that the first day of school finally arrived, at least one student was less than thrilled. Javed Williams, an 11-year-old fifth grader, said he wasn't happy that the summer vacation was over.
"But I like the classes," he said, sitting with his face in his hands at Sprauve School's cafeteria.
Education Department spokeswoman Juel Anderson said public schools across the territory have different orientation schedules, but all were ready to roll for the first day of school.
Some of the territory's private schools are open already. Others should open shortly.

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