Lonedell R-XIV Principal Wayne Dierker said he’s looking forward to a variety of things this school year. The first day for students is Thursday, Aug. 16.

There are 325 students enrolled, including preschool, according to Dierker.

“I am very excited to see all the students,” he said. “We have some wonderful kids at Lonedell, and I know through the constant hard work and determination of our staff that we are pushing kids to learn and grow each day.”

Dierker added that it’s always an exciting time when students are back in school.

“I know that the entire staff is so excited to see each of them,” he said. “Lonedell Elementary is a great little school that has the best staff around.

“We take the education and learning of every student very seriously and want to see every child reach his/her greatest potential,” he added.

Dierker said he’s looking forward to the new science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math (STEAM) classroom. The district recently hired STEAM teacher JT Flora.

“This additional activity rotation will provide kids with a real life and indepth experience that really exposes them to the work that many people experience every day as adults,” he said.

The class will be hands-on, collaborative and students will learn useful skills, Dierker said.

“I am excited to see student growth in critical thinking and additional exposure to STEAM-related careers,” he added.

The principal also mentioned the benefits of moving the fifth grade from the middle school building to the elementary.

“(It) will allow our students at that younger level to build better relationships with their teachers and provide additional instructional time in the key areas of mathematics and language arts,” he said, noting students will have extra time to play in the morning with an additional recess.

“Research shows that providing additional recess time for students is crucial for increased academic achievement,” he said. “This is a great way to encourage social interaction, increase physical activity and always allow for a small brain break.”

The district has partnered this year with Franklin County Cares to provide intensive trauma training for staff, Dierker said.

“This will equip the staff to learn how to best support, encourage and understand students who have experienced some level of trauma,” he said. “Trauma has been a growing factor and concern for many of our students, and it is important that we support these kids in all ways possible.

“Trauma is related to any type of a very stressful event that impacts a student greatly,” he explained. “This could be caused from neglect, poverty, a lack of resources, an unsafe home, the loss of a loved one, to much more.”

Dierker said he hopes students continue to learn to their greatest potential this school year, and feel cared for.

“It is vital to our staff that we continue to build positive and supportive relationships with each student so they have the support to be successful,” he said. “It is important to me that each student feels safe on our campus, and it is important that we work with each individual student to help them achieve greatness.”

The district’s goal is to provide a solid foundation for each student to be prepared for the future, according to Dierker.

“The staff works hard to build them up academically, mentally and socially for the future,” he said. “While Lonedell is small, we are mighty in our ability to provide rich learning experiences and support for all of our students.

“As a district we are always looking for ways to improve and grow for the benefit of the students,” he added. It’s also imperative that we instill this value of continued growth into each and every student that we get the pleasure to serve.”

Dierker said he hopes parents know that they are sending students to a great school.

“We appreciate the work that they do to support the individual learning and achievement of their children,” he said. “We get to borrow their kids for a time each day, and it is important that we ensure that their children are learning, growing, supported, and safe every day at school.”

The staff loves and cares for each student, he stressed, and they want to ensure success for all. Parent volunteers are always welcome, he added.

“We believe in an open line of communication and want to ensure that all parents have an active part in the learning and experiences of their children,” he said.