Students return to county schools next week

Colman-Egan begins Tuesday; Flandreau Public, Wednesday

When Flandreau Public School students start classes next week, they should be able to get there using the normal route in front of the school.
That’s good news after a summer of street construction delays.
The city’s sewer and water project on First Avenue won’t be completed until late next month affecting other cross streets, but paving is scheduled to be done in front of the school before the first day.
School starts 8:30 a.m. Aug. 22 with an early dismissal at 1:30 p.m. that day. Colman-Egan begins classes Aug. 21 with a dismissal at 2:30 p.m., and an open house is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20
In Flandreau, being able to get all students and staff to school safely and eliminating congestion for buses is a top concern, said Superintendent Rick Weber. If the school has to because of further construction delays, it will implement some alternatives for drop offs and traffic flow, he said.
The city has stressed the importance of work being completed in the school area before classes begin and is encouraged by the work completed last week, said Jeff Pederson, city administrator. “It’s a little unnerving that it’s going down to the wire,” he said.
The school will host open houses for the middle school on Thursday and for elementary students on Aug. 20. Grades 5 and 6 will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, while grades 7 and 8 will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
On Monday, students in kindergarten will come to the school’s elementary library at 6 p.m., and students in grades 1 to 4 and their parents will meet in the gym and then will find out who their teachers are. Elementary students can bring their supplies and put them away before the first day of school, said Principal Jay Swatek.
School will dismiss at 3 p.m. each Wednesday this year, Swatek said.
Students will meet several new teachers, counselors and paraprofessionals this year.
At the elementary, Brittany Hutt will teach second grade, replacing Lauren McCafferty who will move to fourth grade.
In addition, Adriane Voisen and Danielle Geigle, who previously was at Flandreau, will each work roughly two-thirds time as K-12 speech therapists. Jenna Sorsen will be the English Language Learners teacher for K-1 and Samantha Luze will be the elementary special education teacher. Laura Drietz will be the elementary art teacher, replacing Amanda Ahrens who moved to the middle school and high school art position.
Josh Cleveland will be a counseling resource at the elementary, and Kari Lena-Helling will be the middle school and high school counselor. Alycia Colvin will teach middle school special education.
Debby Hopkins has been hired to teach high school chemistry and physics.
Several maintenance jobs were completed over the summer, including new tiles in the front lobby and completely refinishing the elementary gym, Weber said. In addition, the district has gotten bids to the elementary penthouse to prevent it from leaking, and later this fall, four elementary classrooms will get new carpeting.
This summer, 11 students entering kindergarten this fall attended a three-week session of school preparedness for three hours, four days a week. The Ready Start program, staffed by three adults, was paid for with a grant from the Interlakes Area United Way and was free to participants.
“It works on basic skills that they are going to be getting into in kindergarten,” Swatek said. Some of the activities included counting, writing numbers up to 10, learning days of the week and basic shapes, practicing letter patterns, sorting objects and working on colors. “It’s just kind of a warm-up, if you will,” he said.
The sessions also helped kids learn to be away from their parents so that it is not as much of a transition when school starts, he said.
The students worked on following directions, basic social skills including raising their hands to participate, gross and fine motor skills, how to hold a book and using pictures to help them understand what is happening in a story. It included a lot of introductory skills they will learn in the first nine weeks of school, Swatek said.


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