Summer vacation for students in the Union R-XI School District ends Thursday morning.
Students will board buses and cars and head to school for the first day of the 2018-19 school year.
Union Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said the district is ready for kids to return from their summer breaks. Teachers spent the early part of the week preparing their classrooms and hosting open houses.
Union School District building will change dramatically in the next few years. After voters passed a bond issue, plans are underway to build a new elementary school and renovate existing buildings.
Those plans, for now, are still on the horizon. At some point this year, likely in 2019, crews will begin renovations at Beaufort Elementary, Weinhold said.
For now, none of the major construction projects have started.
Weinhold said parents and students should return to school this week with building looking exactly the way they was left — with a few minor improvements. He said the district’s maintenance crew did a “wonderful” job getting the buildings ready for the new year.
One thing that will be new for the new year is the addition of two school resource officers (SRO).
Since April, the school district has been working with law enforcement agencies on deals to provide additional police presence at district schools. The district ended the year with SROs at Union High School and Central Elementary.
After reaching new deals with the city of Union and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Union police officer Kevin Williams will be stationed at Union Middle School and Mike Movila, a 20-year veteran in the sheriff’s department, will take the Beaufort position.
A fifth SRO is likely to be added for Clark-Vitt Elementary at some point during the school year.
“I think it’s peace of mind for everyone in the Union R-XI School District,” Weinhold said.
Another change for the upcoming year is the revision of the district’s math curriculum.
Assistant Superintendent Scott Hayes said this summer a lot of work was done to rewrite the math curriculum. The rewrite is a multi-year process but it’s now ready to be put in place.
Hayes said math is an area where the district wants to improve. After working with teachers throughout the district, the new curriculum is ready for students.
The changes aren’t major, he said, but focus on how the subject is taught. He said it’s likely students will be given new strategies in an attempt to solve some problems.
Online resources to help parents and kids are being made available on the district’s website, Hayes said.
Bus drivers spent Monday driving routes to get ready for the year.
Weinhold cautioned parents to be wary of some delay issues during the first few days of schools. He said every year the buses run slowly at the start of the year — partially because every year the district adds a new slate of students who have never ridden a bus before.
“Please bear with us,” he said. “The buses will run late, you should expect some delays. Our main priority is to get these kids home safe.”