Students in the Washington School District will be back in the classroom Tuesday, Aug. 15, and school officials said they will be ready for them.
“We are gearing up for the first day of school and look forward to getting our students back,” said Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer. “The new school year always represents new beginnings.”
VanLeer said teachers and staff were back in their buildings this week making final preparations.
“The floors are polished, rooms are decorated, and we are ready for our learners to arrive on Tuesday,” added Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann.
Straatmann said enrollment is always hard to predict until classes have started.
“It appears that our enrollment might be up a bit, but it’s really difficult to tell at this point due to some students having left the district but have not notified us,” she explained. “At this point, we still have students in the system who have left and have all of the new students, which gives us an inflated enrollment number.”
To date, Straatmann said 117 new families have registered with the district. The district also typically picks up some families after Labor Day weekend.
Enrollment as of Thursday was approximately 3,852 students. At the end of the school year in May, enrollment was 3,788.
Although most teachers had the summer off, Straatmann said many took part in professional development to increase their knowledge and instructional strategies as part of the district’s goal to have all of its staff be lifelong learners.
“Learning continued for all of our teachers as they attended/or will attend professional development sessions this past week and on Monday,” she said. “The staff also will be attending building level meetings.”
New teacher orientation took place Monday, July 31, through Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the Technology and Learning Center. The district has about 41 new teachers this year.
Straatmann, who ran the training sessions, said the new teachers had a full agenda for the three-day event. Rob Landers, Larissa Bray and Rekke Berges with the technology department also assisted.
The district was scheduled to hold its annual back-to-school assembly for all teachers and staff Friday afternoon in the C.J. Burger Auditorium at the high school. The theme of the ceremony was Get Back Into Rhythm Blue Jay Nation.
Registration for high school and middle school students in the district took place July 31-Aug. 3.
Students and parents finalized their enrollment for the upcoming school year during the process. They also were given their Chromebooks.
At Washington High School, Link Crew students met this past Monday to prepare for freshman orientation, which takes place Monday, Aug. 14, from 8 to 11 a.m.
About 60 Link Crew students, made up of juniors and seniors, will play a major role in helping with freshman orientation and also welcoming new students throughout the school year.
WHS counselors ran the Link Crew meeting, going over with the students the different activities that will be a part of freshman orientation.
Following a session in the Blue Jay Gymnasium with the entire class, the freshman students will be divided into several smaller groups with the Link Crew students, where they will head to various classrooms and participate in different games and activities.
Washington Middle School’s Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) Leaders met as a group for training Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 7 -8, to prepare for seventh-grade orientation, which will take place Monday, Aug. 14, from 8 a.m. to noon.
WEB is a program made up of eighth-grade students who welcome the seventh-grade class on orientation and the first day of school, and continues to support them throughout the year.
In preparation for the new school year, open houses and Chromebook deployment have been scheduled throughout buildings in the district.
The open houses provide students and parents a chance to meet faculty members and tour the building.
Open houses were held Thursday at South Point Elementary, Washington West Elementary, Campbellton Elementary, Labadie Elementary, Marthasville, Elementary and Clearview Elementary.
On Monday, Aug. 14, open houses are scheduled at the Four Rivers Career Center, from 4-7 p.m.; Augusta Elementary, 5-6:30 p.m.; Clearview Elementary, grades K-four, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Early Learning Center, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; and Washington Middle School, 5:30-7 p.m. with a seventh-grade parent meeting in the gymnasium at 6 p.m.
Washington High School will hold an open house Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.