Panther Lake Elementary opened its doors to about 620 students, and their families, who reside in the Horizon West area for the first day of classes Wednesday, Aug. 10.
“Our first day has been really great so far, we had lots of families coming to visit,” Principal Christine Szymanski said. “We always, on the first day, let parents walk their children directly to their classroom, so it was fantastic. The traffic seemed to flow very very nicely, so I’m very happy about that. We had lots of parents in the building, and they were here on time knocking on the door, right after 8 o’clock, ready to be here and on time.”
The school’s PTO board organized a “Boo-hoo” breakfast to allow kindergarten parents to spend some more time with their kindergarteners and get to meet other families before classes started.
Parents will be able to enroll their children in extracurricular activities after Labor Day weekend, as the first few weeks will be dedicated to ensure that the students are getting comfortable with the school, and their classrooms. as well as with their teachers.
“We like to have the first couple of weeks just to get to know the students ourselves, get to know their routines, and they get to learn our routines, here at school,” Szymanski said. “Then, once we come back after that Labor Day weekend, we are going to have different activities after school.”
Some of the options for after school activities include soccer, the Florida Film Academy, choir, chess, among others.
Throughout the school year, the PTO board is looking forward to organizing myriad events for the students and their families.
“(The PTO Board members are) very well organized and it’s been a great support for us having them here,” Szymanski said.
Ultimately, the Panther Lake Elementary staff is looking forward to serving its students and the community.
“We focus on the students, we focus on building partnerships with our community members, with our parents,” Szymanski said. “We (want) to make sure that ultimately, we focus on the instruction and making sure the students here are learning … and getting the best education possible. … We have a great staff that are very positive, very excited and they are here for the kids, they just want to go ahead and build those meaningful relationships with their students as well as with the parents that live in the area.”
With the current student enrollment each classroom has between 18 to 22 students. Initially, the school had a projected enrollment of about 700 students, and even though enrollment is a little lower than expected, there will potentially be an influx of students registering into the school after Labor Day weekend.