Warren County R-III School District administrators said the first week of school was a smooth start to the year. The district’s 2019-2020 school year started Aug. 13.
“I’m impressed at how well it went, how smooth it went,” said Superintendent Dr. Gregg Klinginsmith. “We really had a great first week.”
He said there weren’t any problems transitioning students back into school from their summer vacations, and that students and teachers are settling into their routines for the year. Services for the students were provided without any hiccups, including transportation.
“That’s always the thing you worry about most the first week in school, changes in the transportation schedule,” Klinginsmith explained. “(The transportation department) has done a great job of coordinating with families.”
The first week of school, students spend much of their time learning new procedures and routines, and building relationships with each other and their educators, Klinginsmith said. The second week is when a heavier focus on curriculum begins.
This is the first year the district is operating on a four-day school week. That comes with slightly longer days and adjusted schedules that students are getting used to. The most noticeable change is how the elementary schools schedule special class times such as P.E., Klinginsmith said. The district is hoping to see improved attendance with the four-day week.
Along with the new weekly schedule came the start of care days, which provide programs for students on Mondays when classes aren’t in session. Klinginsmith said about 100 students attended the first care day, and about 230 total students are enrolled.
New this year, the superintendent said Warrenton High School is starting a program to provide a Chromebook computer to each student. A new softball field is also opening at the high school Sept. 3.
Middle school transition
At Black Hawk Middle School, where former elementary students are making their first school transition into sixth grade, Principal Dr. James Allison said he has been getting positive feedback from parents and teachers.
“We had a lot of bright-eyed and wide-open eyeballs on the sixth-graders,” Allison commented. “(Faculty) have done a real good job of helping them understand that this is a little different. ... They’ve done a good job of keeping things routine and comfortable.”
The teachers and students in all grades have spent some time getting to know each other and doing team building, he said.
Along with the change to the school week, Allison said the middle school is providing a learning lab at the end of school days to help fulfill students’ individual needs. The school is also adopting a program from the high school level to proactively help students keep up with their homework.
Allison himself is new to the school district this year, and said he has received a positive welcome.
“I felt a lot of support from the staff and community. Lots of people are coming by, getting to know us, and are excited about what we’re doing,” Allison said. “It’s been really positive, really exciting. I’m looking forward to every day.”
Attendance up slightly
Klinginsmith said attendance at the schools is fairly close to what it was last year, up about 15 students across the entire district. As of Friday, Aug. 16, 3,066 were enrolled in the district.
That number could change a little within the first few weeks of school, but Klinginsmith said the final enrollment count should be fairly close.
These are the enrollments at each school in the district:
• Daniel Boone Elementary — 388;
• Warrior Ridge Elementary — 536;
• Rebecca Boone Elementary — 423;
• Black Hawk Middle School — 779; and
• Warrenton High School — 940.