by Jalana Robinson
wimsuits and sandals are being swapped for blue jeans and tennis shoes. Children are reluctantly putting down remote controls to pick up pencils and notebooks. It can only mean one thing: school days are here again.
A new school year means new programs, teachers, and building improvements for Platte County schools. Area school districts had a busy summer preparing for the approaching 2002-2003 school year.
Platte County R-3
When they begin classes on Tuesday, August 20, students in the Platte County R-3 school district will notice many changes and improvements to their school buildings.
Six classrooms have been added at Siegrist Elementary, which will now house grades 1-3. Previously Siegrist was used as a 2-4 building.
Paxton Elementary School was upgraded with eight new classrooms, a media center, a new office complex, and an expanded commons area. The addition, which doubled the size of the Paxton building, was necessary to accommodate the fourth and fifth graders that will now occupy the building. In previous years, Paxton housed only third grade.
Rising Star Elementary School, previously a kindergarten-first grade building, will this year house kindergarten and the district’s early childhood development programs. Along with Parents as Teachers and Early Childhood Special Education, the Head Start Program will be in Rising Star.
The Head Start Program was previously located at Holy Trinity Church in Weston. According to Assistant Superintendent Gregg McPherson, the school district entered into the partnership with Head Start to increase the availability of the program to area children.
“We think more children will be able to access the program with a location in Platte City,” McPherson said. “Therefore more children will have improved readiness when they begin kindergarten.”
Other building improvements include a remodeled and expanded cafeteria at the high school, and a band and instrumental music classroom, which will connect the high school and middle school. Previously, all band classes were held at the middle school.
“This is a state of the art music facility,” McPherson said. “We are very proud of it.”
The Northland Career Center is receiving its first interior remodeling since the district took control of the building in 1980. Floor tiles, paint, windows, ceiling tiles, and roofing will all be replaced.
“There’s not much not happening over there,” said McPherson.
Buildings aren’t the only thing being added at Platte County. The district recently received a grant from the State of Missouri to start an alternative school program for at-risk students.
Beginning this year, students will have the opportunity for alternative class work and credit recovery. Two half-day sessions and an evening session will be held.
“It’s another way to structure school to prevent dropouts,” McPherson explained. The program will be housed on the campus of Rising Star Elementary. A teacher for the program has not yet been secured.
While the district is still seeking an alternative education teacher, several other positions have been filled. New teachers in the Platte County R-3 system are: Sheila Percival, kindergarten at Rising Star; Kendra Ream-Nelson, chemistry at PCHS; Julia Points, sixth grade social studies; Mikki (Michelle) Johnston, seventh grade literature; Russell Baldwin, eighth grade social studies; Rick Frazier, sixth grade math; Debbie Helton, media specialist at Paxton; Michelle Omundson, remedial reading at Paxton; Martha (Brant) Reppert, art at Siegrist; Sara Miles, second grade at Siegrist; Carrak Norton, computer maintenance at Northland Career Center; Elaine Crafton, nursing at Northland Career Center; Rick Hodge, PE at Barry; Natalie Clower, third grade at Barry; Amy Matt, third grade at Barry; Blaire Dunn, third grade at Barry; Christina Pfauf, early childhood at Barry; Cynthia Jamison, art at Barry; Shawn Godsey, English at Barry; Kathleen Herrin, part-time speech at Paxton and Siegrist; and Michelle Lipari, gifted education at Paxton.
North Platte R-1
North Platte students will be much cooler when they return to school on Wednesday, August 21.
Air conditioning units are being installed in the Elementary, Intermediate, and Junior High buildings – making every building in the district air conditioned. Superintendent Dr. Francis Moran is optimistic that all units will be installed by the first day of school, but there will be a few hurdles to clear.
“The electrical requirements of the rooftop units at the elementary school cannot be met with the existing wiring,” Moran said. “Not knowing the schedule of the power company, I can’t say if this will be done before the start of school.”
To improve the efficiency of the air conditioners, the district began replacing windows in the junior high building. Moran plans to replace windows at the intermediate school next summer.
Construction on the multi-purpose building is nearing completion. North Platte was recently awarded a $41,000 grant from Platte County to aid with the finishing of the building, and the purchase of cardiovascular equipment to be placed in the building.
The grant was approved on the condition that the multi-purpose building would be open to the public three days a week for 2-4 hours a day.
Beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 3, the building will be open to the public on the following schedule: 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays and 7-9 a.m. on Saturdays.
North Platte has announced several orientations to help students prepare for the upcoming year.
A meeting for the parents of all kindergarten students will be held on Monday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. in the elementary school gym. Teachers Sheila Goodlet, Marti Boydston, and Ann Redman will conduct the meeting. Principal Karen Seckel will be available to answer questions.
Tuesday, Aug. 20 will be “Kindergarten Kids Day.” This will be explained in detail at the Monday night meeting.
Fourth grade orientation will be held from 7-8 p.m. on Monday, August 19 at the intermediate school. All fourth grade students will have the opportunity to meet their teachers, see the classrooms, and become familiar with their “new” school.
Junior high orientation will also be held Monday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. For more information, call the school at 816-450-3350.
High school orientation will be Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. For more information, call the school at 816-450-3344.
Two new teachers will enter the North Platte system this fall. Karl Matt replaces Bree Clevenger as high school math teacher and Nancy Edson replaces Kristi Shanbour as a fifth grade teacher.
West Platte R-2
West Platte students will also notice many additions to their school building when they return on Thursday, Aug. 15, dismissing at 1:15 p.m.
A two-level addition on the back southwest corner of the building will feature a weight-training facility and multi-purpose community room/cafeteria.
West Platte also received a grant from the county for the purchase of cardiovascular equipment for the weight room, along with tables and chairs for the community room. Superintendent Kyle Stephenson plans on the addition being completed by Labor Day.
West Platte is also working on the addition of a pre-school program to be housed in its building. The half-day classes will begin this fall.
New teachers at West Platte will be: Charlotte Tanner, librarian; Nancy Gabbert, elementary; Nathan Powell, high school; and Melvin Lott, high school.
See other pages inside this issue of The Landmark for more back to school news and information.
There will be a parent-teacher meeting Monday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. for all parents of kindergarten students. The meeting will be in the North Platte Elementary gym.