Greene County Schools ready for a new year

School starts Aug. 23

The Greene County Schools’ youngest students won’t start their school careers at Greene County Elementary, but will instead begin at St Joseph Parish Center on N. Locust St in Jefferson.

The pre-kindergartners will eventually move to brand new classrooms at the elementary building. The addition was planned to be completed before the pre-K students’ first day of school Sept. 7, but delays have made that impossible.

A completion date has not yet been given for the elementary school addition.

The young students will arrive at the elementary in the morning and leave from there at the end of their day. They’ll be bussed from the elementary to the parish center.

The parish center is not a new satellite location for the district; the alternative school was held there when it was first organized.

Charlee Cunningham checks out the décor in Mrs Kennedy’s kindergarten classroom

More seasoned students – this year’s kindergartners – will have updated classrooms with trendy décor and kid-friendly furniture.

Kindergarten teachers, Title I reading teacher Traci Beger and others spent their summer scrounging for used furniture they could rehab for the kindergarten classrooms. Beger admits to picking used furniture up from curbs, particularly end tables. With paint, contact paper, duct tape edges, and a bit of repair sometimes, the tables are ready to continue their useful lives.

An emphasis has been put on seating and gathering spaces that are less formal than in traditional classrooms. Former coffee tables are now brightly colored  tables with upturned milk crates with cushions as seats.

The redecorating has been at the teachers’ expense; no district money was used for the project, according to Beger.

Fourth grade teacher Amanda Huff is new to the district at the elementary building, and the staff will welcome the fourth grade teachers from the Grand Junction building.

There will be more students and teachers at the middle school with the move of fifth and sixth grades from Grand Junction to Jefferson and three new staff members.

Emily Brekunitch, a graduate of Wartburg College, is the new middle school band director. She will also be the 5-12 band director at Paton-Churdan. Bob Palmer, who was band director at the intermediate school, will also be at the middle school.

Derek Merk, an experienced teacher from Central Lee, will teach social studies. Matt Brown will join the staff as a guidance counselor.

New teachers at the high school include Kristi Berg and Allison Wenck, science;  Debra Boldt, special education; Jeff Whyle, math and technology; Tyler Wethoff, physical education; and Kaitlin Petersen, Read 180.

The school day at the high school has been extended by 13 minutes to provide more time for students to get help with challenging subjects or explore interests.

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