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With summer vacation coming to a close, teachers and principals across the Owen County district are preparing to welcome students back to school.
The first day for students is Aug. 14, but Owen County School District Director of Instructional Support Services Reggie Taylor said teachers work tirelessly throughout the summer in preparation for the upcoming year.
Taylor, who was recently hired to oversee curriculum, instruction, federal programs and professional development, said he has been impressed with the dedication of all staff throughout the summer.
“It’s amazing to see everyone working all summer,” Taylor said. “Teachers, support staff and even the buildings and grounds workers – they’ve all contributed to what I think will be a great school year.”
Owen County School District Director of Maintenance Dan Logan said moving the second-grade classrooms to the elementary school and headstart into the primary school have been top on his to-do list this summer.
“We’ve been prepping the rooms, painting and waxing floors, and making sure the heating and cooling systems are in check,” Logan said. “We have to work on the grounds too, to make sure everything looks nice. Moving the second grade over to the elementary building has been a big task.”
Some teachers at Owen County Primary and Elementary schools were in their classrooms Monday, including kindergarten teacher Lacey Bastin.
“It’s all summer long,” Bastin said. “Everything gets packed up so the rooms can be cleaned and then we have to unpack it all and put things back together -- there’s training, new decorations, painting and coming up with new things.”
Bastin, who will have 24 students this year, said teachers are allotted $250 for everyday items but most new items must be bought out-of-pocket.
Both Bastin and first-grade teacher Brandy Neal said they spend lots of time looking up new, creative ideas for their classrooms on the social media website Pinterest, which allows people to share ideas on virtually any topic including education and classroom decoration.
“It helps (the students) feel more relaxed if they have a homey atmosphere to come into on the first day,” third-grade teacher Gayle Forsee said. “I think it puts them at ease. It’s hard for some of these kids to leave home after the summer.”
Forsee said teachers also spend the summer getting to know their incoming students by going over their previous records.
“We need to know what levels they’re at so we can best suit their needs,” Forsee said.
Neal said in the past she has made home visits during the summer to get to know her new students one-on-one and gives her cell phone number out to parents.
“We have the criers and the ones who are excited to be here on the first day of school,” Neal said. “Each child deals with it differently – but it helps to know exactly what they need and how their needs differ from others.”
A kindergarten kickoff will be held at the Owen County Primary School from 8:30-11:30 a.m., Aug. 12. Children will have the opportunity to experience a mock school day, with visits to the gym, cafeteria, library, music room and more. Parents will have the opportunity to meet with principal Sharen Hubbard for a question and answer session.
An open house for first- through fourth-grade students will be held from 6-7 p.m., Aug. 12. Students will have the opportunity to meet their teachers.
A Rebel Rally for incoming freshman at Owen County High School will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday. The cost is $6 and lunch will be provided.
For bus safety tips and a complete list of bus routes, see page 8 of this week’s News-Herald.