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The Last Days of Summer
The Last Days of Summer
This past week was the final week of our summer school session. Over 1,300 students attended one or both of the three-week sessions. The conclusion of summer school means our buildings have become much quieter. However, quiet does not mean less busy. Getting ready to reopen the summer buildings in one month is no small endeavor.
Summer maintenance and cleaning has been in full swing since early June. When the students leave for the summer, deep cleaning begins in all locations. A well-done routine means furniture is moved out, walls are washed, light fixtures meticulously cleaned, floors are redone and more.
We rotate many members of our buildings and grounds staff during the summer months. In order to finish up the cleaning at our summer school facilities, it is necessary to have all of the other buildings completed by the end of July. Nearly the entire crew descends upon the high school and River Heights for the remaining weeks.
We had several maintenance projects scheduled for completion during the summer. While many got done as scheduled, the list was rewritten in May! The fire in the MHS agriculture room late in the spring presented an additional challenge.
A few months ago, I arrived at the high school after an early morning call. As the district administrator, I am prepared to hear a lot of things first thing in the morning, but an active fire is not usually one of them. When I arrived, the fire had been successfully extinguished and we were left with a charred, blackened, wet, and smelly mess.
Being ready for the start of the new school year was the last thing on my mind. Our immediate list of concerns involved moving students and staff to new locations in order to finish the school year. It was a good time to be flexible. The good news now is that the cleaned and reconstructed areas will be ready for staff next week!
Once again, the community came together to assist. A citizen, passing by, called in a report of dark smoke coming from the building. The very quick action of our fire department prevented a much larger loss. Several staff members showed up to provide volunteer assistance in the clean-up and moving. The agriculture community also sprang into action with a major fundraising campaign to help replace some of the equipment and materials. Thank you!
With everyone’s help, the space will be sparkling new and ready for the annual trip back-to-school! August brings that familiar feeling back to all of us.
I stopped at McDonald’s this week for my usual— a small regular hamburger. I was instantly transported back to one of my favorite back-to-school memories as a child. Our annual back-to-school shopping trip always included a stop at one of the first McDonald’s Restaurants in the Twin Cities area. The hamburgers were 15 cents!
My childhood memories also included a stop at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. When we were done at the zoo, we would head to Sears in downtown St. Paul to find brand new shoes and a school bag. There is something pretty special about starting the school year with new shoes.
Staff and students share a similar set of back-to-school memories. Not only are teachers getting themselves ready to go back to school, they are also planning ahead to be sure all of their students will be ready and equipped with what they need.
Teachers will prepare a stash of “extra” gym shoes, pencils, crayons, etc., for those students who don’t have the resources for back-to-school shopping. We also benefit from several businesses, non-profits, and service clubs who have collected and distributed school supplies. Thank you again!
Everyone is very anxious to know which classroom, which middle school “house”, and which teacher they might have. High school students are anxious to see their schedules and learn which friends might be in their classes with them. MHS students also check out first and second lunch assignments! Searching out their new lunch locations is a right of passage. It is a whole new set of seniors!
We realize that everyone is anxious for the details. New registrations are still coming into the district on a daily basis. That means many of the class lists are still being confirmed. Once class sizes are balanced and final decisions are made, letters and schedules will go out to students.
School districts must “lock in and roll over” our student records database at the conclusion of the year. However, the rollover cannot occur until all records, remedial work, and a great deal of clerical preparation is done. When that process is finalized, software updates must be completed. Our final updates were completed on Tuesday and everyone is in high gear completing the final preparations for 2012-2013.
Sixth grade and new student orientations were scheduled this past week. There will be an additional session or two closer to the opening of school. All high school students will be picking their schedules up the week of August 20. Freshmen will also attend an orientation session.
Elementary parents can find supply lists at the administrative service center and at many local stores. September 4 is the official first day of school; however, it is an orientation visitation day. Parents of first time 4K and kindergarteners usually don’t shed tears until the 5th!
The local news will have orientation day information this week. New this year is the option for parents to fill out much of their family paperwork online through parent access. Completing the information required will save time at the orientation session and minimize duplication for parents with several children. Parents can access the information beginning August 20.
The last days of summer will fly by. We will be ready!
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