For the second year in a row, Bobby Elwell spent time moving this summer.

However, the move he made following the 2018-19 school year was a bit shorter.

Elwell moved down the hall from his health classroom to the Redwood Valley Middle School office where he will be serving as the interim principal for the 2019-20 year.

“I always liked the leadership roles I have had,” said Elwell, adding he has served in those types of roles since high school, in college, as well as in his educator role.

Yes, he said, getting involved in administrative leadership has been part of his long-term plan, but Elwell admitted he did not think that it would necessarily be this early.

Having earned his Masters degree in educational leadership, Elwell completed the requirements for certification as an administrator this past spring and started the new role at RVMS July 1.

Elwell is one of many new faces who will be part of the Redwood Area School District this coming school year, as there are 13 new educators who will be in the classroom the first day of school.

That is a reason to be very excited about the new school year, said Rick Ellingworth, RASD superintendent. 

For Ellingworth, as well as the site level principals, including Rick Jorgenson, RVHS principal, Paul van der Hagen, Reede Gray principal, and Elwell, there really is a lot to look forward to as the new year commences.

A number of construction projects have been in the works over the summer, said Ellingworth, with improvements to bathrooms at Redwood Valley, the completion of the Estebo Career Development and Training Center and the resurfacing of the track among the changes people who come to school events are going to recognize.

Years ago teachers took much more of the summer off, but Ellingworth said today there are constantly staff development and training opportunities going on during the months when school is not in session, which means there are teachers at the school throughout the summer getting ready for the upcoming year.

The drop-off system that has been in place at Redwood Valley for the past couple of years will continue, said Ellingworth, adding he thinks that is an option that has worked well.

While the Cook Street access on DeKalb Street is open, Ellingworth said the school year will begin with that project still happening, which means people will need to continue to use alternate routes to get to school.

Paul van der Hagen said a new math curriculum is being introduced at the elementary school, adding the program is set up to provide some consistency for students in Grades K-12. He also said there is a new handwriting program being used this year at Reede Gray.

The elementary school will host its family fun night Sept. 16, said van der Hagen, adding that event runs from 6-7 p.m. At 5 p.m. that day there will be an optional parent meeting that will address the safe and strong child program that is being implemented to help students understand how to be safe in and outside of school.

Jorgenson said a new effort to connect with students is being established this year, adding the staff will be working to build a stronger sense of rapport with students as a way to help them better identify with their school and the reason why they are there.

Jorgenson has also established a presence on Facebook and Twitter where he will provide information to the community, and he encouraged people to take a look at that regularly.

There are some new classes being offered at RVHS this year, and Jorgenson said efforts are being made to partner with the community to allow students to have more job exploration experiences.

At RVMS, a new 20 minute block is being added to the schedule that will provide an opportunity for students to get extra help, and Elwell said the study hall time offered to students this year will have much more of a purpose.

Elwell said he is looking forward to his new role as an administrator as he not only works with students but with the teaching staff and the whole community.

“I’m ready to hit the ground running,” said Elwell, adding he looks forward to getting into the everyday things that make up a school year.

All of the school’s administrators echoed that sentiment, as they put the final pieces together prior to Sept. 3.

Students in the Redwood Area School District had a longer summer by two weeks coming into the 2019-20 school year, which means they all should be well rested and ready to go this coming Tuesday.

“I really feel like we are ready to start the new school year,” Ellingworth said, adding 2019-20 is going to be a great year for the Redwood Area School District.