The 2018-19 school year begins this coming Monday (Aug. 20) in the Redwood Area School District.
More than 1,000 students will be walking through the doors of Reede Gray Elementary, Redwood Valley Middle and Redwood Valley High schools, as they shake the sleep from their eyes and begin another year of reading, writing and arithmetic (as well as a few other subjects).
Those who have spent the past few weeks putting the finishing touches on the plans for the new academic year expressed their excitement for the start of another opportunity to mold the minds of local students.
“It has been a good summer,” said Rick Ellingworth, Redwood Area School District Superintendent. “I am excited about the new school year.”
So are Rick Jorgensen, Redwood Valley High School principal, Amanda Pederson, Redwood Valley Middle School principal, and Paul van der Hagen, Reede Gray Elementary School principal.
All of them talked about the new things that will be happening this year.
Each of them expressed their excitement about the new staff coming on board this school year.
“We have nine new teachers in the district this year,” said Ellingworth, adding it is a good mix of teachers who are fresh out of college and those who come with teaching experience.
While the principals said they were certainly sad to see those veteran teachers who retired last year go, they are confident those who have come in will do a great job in those roles.
Ellingworth added after a few years of transition, it is nice to head into the new school year with an administrative staff in place that has experience in the district.
For Ellingworth the biggest excitement for the new year has been the construction of the new addition at Redwood Valley schools, as well as the remodeling and upgrading of the areas adjacent to the new career development and technical training wing.
Ellingworth admitted getting everything finished for day one will be a bit tight, but he is confident that even if there are a few things to finish up in the areas being renovated they will be ready very soon.
“We are blessed to have this new facility,” said Ellingworth, adding it is because of strong support from the community that it is happening.
Jorgensen said the addition is allowing the high school to add several new opportunities for students.
“We have 18 new classes we are offering this year,” he said.
Ellingworth added those who drop off students at Redwood Valley are reminded of the parking lot change implemented last year. That, will continue this year.
Pederson said at the middle school there is going to be an increased focus on positive behaviors, adding the students are going to be hearing a lot more about personal respect and responsibility.
She added this year’s eighth graders will also be exposed to STEM and FACS classes as a way to help prepare them for high school.
“We want to change the culture of the middle school,” Pederson said, adding they plan to make that experience fun along the way.
For van der Hagen, some painting in the playground area will offer more activities for students to enjoy, adding there are plans to celebrate bigger activities as part of its positive behavior programming.