Longtime Grade 5 teacher Barbara Noone readies her new classroom at Sanford Junior High School on Thursday, ahead of opening day on Tuesday for most Sanford students. All of the district’s fifth grade classes are at SHJS this year and some other grades are temporarily located in other school buildings as a number of schools in the district are undergoing renovations. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

SANFORD – Students in Barbara Noone’s fifth-grade class will soon be “walking the plank” to write on the white board in her classroom, dubbed Pirate’s Cove, come Tuesday.

That is the first day of classes for most students in Sanford – and also in nearby SAD 57.

On Thursday, Noone and other teachers across Sanford School District were readying their classrooms ahead of the big day.

Noone’s classroom has taken on a pirate theme, with a pirate flag, pirate accessories and “the plank” – a flexible strip laid down in a path to the white board – for the last several years.

“We say ‘aargh,’” said Noone with a grin.

Grade 5 teacher Ethan Gouin sorts books at Sanford Junior High School  Thursday ahead of the Tuesday start of classes for most Sanford students. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

This year however, Noone’s class and other Grade 5 classes are situated in a different building. The domino effect of a delay in a portion of ongoing school renovation projects has played a role in where classrooms are set up this semester. When school opens on Tuesday morning, all 10 of Sanford’s Grade 5 classes will be situated at Sanford Junior High school – and all eight of the Grade 8 classes that had been at the junior high school will be located in a second floor wing at Sanford High School.

There were other changes as well, as the school department shuffled classrooms and buildings in order to cope with the construction delay.

Kindergarten will be at Carl L. Lamb and Lafayette schools .

Grades 1, 2 and 3 will be at CJL, Lafayette and Willard schools and most students who would normally attend Margaret Chase Smith School, which is being renovated, will go to Willard, school officials said.

All of the fourth-grade students will attend Willard.

All students in grades 5, 6 and 7 will start the school year at the current Sanford Junior High school and move to the converted Sanford Middle School (the former Sanford High School) when it is ready.

The former Sanford High School, vacated in October, is being renovated to serve as a middle school, and the current junior high school will then be renovated for use as an elementary school. Margaret Chase Smith School is being expanded by 50,000 square feet and the existing part  of the school is undergoing renovations.

Tuesday is the first student day of school for grades 1 to 12 and Sanford Regional Technical Center, according to the school calendar. Kindergarten students start Wednesday, and Pre-Kindergarten on Sept. 9.

In RSU 57, which includes Alfred, Limerick, Lyman, Newfield, Shapleigh and Waterboro, grades 1 to 9 and students attending Sanford Regional Technical Center start Tuesday; grades 10 to 12 start Wednesday, and the first day for Kindergarten and Pre-K is Thursday.

In Sanford, Superintendent of Schools Matt Nelson on Thursday said registrations were still coming in for new students, but, he noted, school officials won’t know until the first day of classes whether that will result in an overall uptick in enrollment, since some existing students may have moved elsewhere.

AT SJHS, the fifth-grade teachers were busy getting everything situated.

Teacher Josh Allen was hanging posters in his classroom, while teacher Ethan Gouin was sorting books in his classroom nearby.

Gouin, a Sanford native, is in his second year teaching Grade 5 students. Tackling a pile of fiction books, he said his first task will be to encourage students to read.

Some of the books in the pile he was sorting looked well read.

That is because they very likely were. Gouin said he was pleased to “inherit” the stack from a teacher who moved to another district – and who had taught his class when he was in sixth grade.

In the front office, staff were equally busy – Assistant Principal Joseph Mastraccio and new assistant principal Mike Bailey, a former Sanford High School physical education teacher, were busy preparing for Tuesday, as was Principal Pam Lydon,who predicted a great year.

“We are ready to rock this place,” said Lydon. “And we’re especially excited to have Grade 5 join us.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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