Realignment didn’t hamper the start of the school year for the Meramec Valley R-III School District.

Students returned to the classroom Thursday, Aug. 15.

Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Mulford said the changes have opened up space in many of the buildings.

“With realignment, we pulled fifth grade out of the elementary schools, and we established an intermediate school for fifth- and sixth-graders,” Mulford said.

Pacific Intermediate now serves all fifth- and sixth-graders in the district, and Riverbend Middle School serves seventh- and eighth-graders.

The goal is to give elementary school students more time to get acclimated to joining the middle school setting, officials said.

“It’s a little more traditional,” Mulford said. “We wanted to establish a learning center to guide students from an elementary to a middle school setting.”

The elementary school boundaries also were redistricted this year. It shifted some students to different elementary schools, and it evened out the enrollment throughout the schools.

All elementary schools now serve kindergarten through fourth grade.

Smooth Start

The superintendent said the first days of school have gone well.

“We started the year smooth with both transportation and the schools,” Mulford said. “There may be things we want to adjust by the end of the year, but we will learn that early. Our teachers and staff have been wonderful.”

Administrators

The realignment also resulted in changes with the administrative team. Five principals and assistant principals are either new to the district or switched schools.

“I’m very excited about the new administrators,” Mulford said. “They jumped right in like they’ve been here for years. They’ve come with fresh ideas and input.”

Other Changes

The superintendnt said he’s excited about the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program being introduced at both the high school and middle school. Students will learn leadership skills through the program.

Additionally, the science labs at the high school have been updated, and Mulford said other projects will be completed with additional funding.

Coleman Elementary had a new HVAC system and windows installed prior to the start of school. The project was completed just in time for the new year.

This is Mulford’s second year as superintendent. He received his doctorate degree in educational leadership from Saint Louis University (SLU) in 2009, after previously earning his educational specialist degree from SLU as well. He also holds a master’s degree from William Woods University and undergraduate degree from Missouri State University.

“I’m very excited for the year,” Mulford said. “Our faculty and staff are welcoming and open-minded. They’re willing to try new things. I’m excited for the future of the district.”