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SUPERINTENDENT'S COLUMN: Elementary school opens for first day

The first day of school in the new Ellsworth Elementary building was deemed a resounding success, said Superintendent Barry Cain. Pictured here are the building’s two principals, Mary Zimmerman (grades 4K-1) and John Groh (grades 2-5) Friday, Jan. 5. Groh served as principal of Hillcrest while Zimmerman led Prairie View before the transition to the new combined school. Photo courtesy of Mindy Anderson

As I write this article, the students are just beginning to get their lunches on the first day in the new Ellsworth Elementary School. It has been an exciting morning as the students arrived. I could not be more proud of the work that so many staff and community members did over the past years, months, and final days leading up to this opening.

Over the past few weeks we have been going through all of the final steps to welcome the staff and students back after the winter break. Staff has worked over the past year planning for this opening by beginning to pack boxes, visiting other schools, adjusting schedules, communicating needs, etc. In the recent weeks, the custodial staff and a number of great community volunteers delivered boxes to the new school, moved and shelved thousands of library books, and set up the various classrooms and public spaces to be ready for the first day. Their work cannot be appreciated enough.

This morning we saw the first day of the district's new schedule and busing routes. I can proudly say that this first day has gone even better than we see with a normal first day each fall. We have a few tweaks here and there to make but overall, the first day of this very large transition for all involved has been great.

In May 2012, the Ad Hoc Facilities Committee held its first meeting to identify the district's facility needs. The five-plus years since that time have flown by in many ways. I would again like to thank everyone involved that made this first day possible. On Jan. 22 we will be having our Open House from 5-7:30 p.m. with a short ceremony to follow. In the coming days much more information will be coming about this event. All public is welcome to attend and we are looking forward to see a huge crowd and to show what this new school brings to our students and the community as a whole.

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