Tuesday was the first day of school for students in the Washington School District and officials said it went very smoothly.
“We had a wonderful first day of school,” Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer told The Missourian.
“Students arrived, teachers greeted them warmly with a smile and quickly we were getting down to it,” she said. “The first few days prove to be mostly about re-establishing the procedures and routines.”
Other than the typical first-day bus glitches, there were few problems, said VanLeer, who rode along on one of the school buses Tuesday morning and stopped in at several of the district’s schools to personally welcome students.
The superintendent rode on Bus 306 which transports students to Clearview Elementary.
“I had the pleasure of sitting by Jack, a new rising fourth-grader this year,” she said. “He told me to consider a four-day week, with Monday being off. I told him I would keep it in my idea box for future reference.
VanLeer said she also met several “very excited freshman” students, as well as some middle school students who told her they needed a little more vacation.
The superintendent also “tweeted” about her ride. VanLeer’s twitter handle is @SDOWsupt.
“I enjoyed the bus ride and visited several of our school buildings to observe how the day was going and I was very pleased,” she said. “We are glad to have the kids back.”
Ready to Learn
Washington High School Principal Dr. Frank Wood said students came prepared and ready to learn this week.
“Most of our kids completed the summer reading assignment and we were very happy that they read some challenging books,” Wood noted. “It was an awesome start to a wonderful year.”
At Marthasville Elementary, Prinicpal Laura Bruckerhoff said students seemed very excited to return and teachers were happy to see them.
“We had a fantastic first day of school,” Bruckerhoff said. “We are rockin’ it across the river.”
Susan Harms and Ron Millheiser, co-principals at Washington Middle School, also reported a great start to the new year.
“Our eighth-grade student WEB mentors conducted an awesome orientation which acclimated the seventh-graders to our building,” Harms said. “We were also excited with the number of parents at our open house. All of this accounted for a smooth first day.”
WEB stands for Where Everyone Belongs. It is a program that helps train eighth-graders to be mentors to the seventh-graders.
Total enrollment districtwide Tuesday was approximately 4,006, which is up slightly from last year.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann said there were no significant changes in enrollment other than Washington West Elementary which increased by 30 students and Washington Middle School which was up 17 students. Labadie Elementary enrollment was down by about 13 students.
“Class sizes look good,” Straatmann told The Missourian. “We are splitting the kindergarten class at Marthasville Elementary due to over crowding. This class had 32 students.”
She said enrollment will fluctuate the first few days and even weeks as students who had enrolled but didn’t show are taken off the rosters and new students enroll, which is not uncommon even after Labor Day.
A total of 2,026 elementary students were enrolled on opening day. The middle school reported a total of 591 students with 291 seventh-graders and 300 eighth-graders. Washington High School reported 1,389 students with 331 freshmen; 359 sophomores; 338 juniors; and 361 seniors.
Here is a breakdown of first-day enrollment by building:
Augusta Elementary — 139 students.
Campbellton Elementary — 162 students.
Clearview Elementary — 334 students.
Fifth Street Elementary — 128 students.
Labadie Elementary — 98 students.
Marthasville Elementary — 257 students.
South Point Elementary — 459 students.
Washington West Elementary — 449 students.
Washington Middle School — 591 students.
Washington High School — 1,389 students.
VanLeer said her entire executive team was “boots on the ground” Tuesday, covering all buildings on the first day of school.
“It truly is one of my favorite days of the year,” she added.