(Fred Lynch) [Order this photo]
Alma Schrader Elementary's upgrades include installation of a new roof, new classroom doors, security cameras, exterior door security improvements and the addition of classrooms, therapy rooms, a music room and a hallway to link buildings. Construction of a new roof is underway at Clippard Elementary.
Alma Schrader principal Ruth Ann Orr said on the first day back at school, construction workers did well minimizing disruption to the school's learning routine, although the children are curious about the changes.
School counselor Julia Unnerstall said the concern of the children and staff has primarily been recent high temperatures workers are dealing with while working on the roof. A fourth-grade group called the Character Council, made up of five students from each class who donate their recess time toward service learning projects, will likely provide the workers with refreshments as the work continues, she said.
Due to an increase in the number of students enrolling this year, the school added two classes to the second and third grades. Last year, Unnerstall said, kindergarten and fourth grade each added a class. Orr said more bus routes are also in place for this year.
Enrollment for the Cape Girardeau School District on Thursday was about 4,100, slightly higher than in 2009, according to superintendent Dr. Jim Welker's office. The figure will fluctuate throughout the first weeks of school because of late enrollments.
Welker visited staff at several schools Thursday and said he thought there had been a smooth start to the school year.
During lunch at Central High School, freshman Britney Hubbard said her first day of high school was different, but she liked it so far.
"There's more of a variety of classes, and definitely more room to walk around," she said.
Freshman Rachael Long said she loved high school so far, except for one class.
Finding their way around their new school, both girls said, was challenging but was made easier by attending orientation before the first day.
Principal Mike Cowan said the routine at the high school went well for the first day, and first thing Thursday morning he felt good about the organization he was even seeing in the school's parking lot.
"The first year we were here there were cars backed up all the way to the mall. This morning at 7:35 everyone already seemed to be in the building," he said.
Jackson School District superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson said construction at the high school should have little effect on students when classes begin Monday. Work on a building that will include 25 classrooms, a media center, health services and offices should be finished in late winter or early spring, Anderson said.
Jackson elementary schools are offering a new after-school care program for students this year, said assistant superintendent Dr. Rita Fisher. The program will be a place where students can have a snack, get their homework done and participate in activities, she said.
Notre Dame Regional High School will begin classes Thursday and is in the first phase of additions to facilities.
By February, principal Brother David Migliorino said, a multipurpose gym should be completed. He said he is hopeful the second phase of construction to include four new classrooms will be started in September.
Construction will not affect learning, he said, because the areas being worked on are additions and closed off to students.
Migliorino said the school had an increased number of enrollments, up to 529 from 498 at the end of last year. The freshmen class, with 150 now enrolled, has seen a big jump, he said.
"Our freshmen class is closed at this point," he said.