Custer County students go back to school

The 2016-17 school year began bright and early this morning for the elementary students, seventh graders and freshman. 

Students filled the schools with excitement, looking forward to a new year of learning, being with friends and more.

The seventh graders and freshman began a day earlier than the eighth graders and the rest of the high school so they could adjust to a new school.

According to Custer County District High School Principal Beez Lucero one of the most difficult things for an incoming freshman is finding their way around the school. With its maze-like hallways it doesn’t take much to get lost in the high school. 

At Washington Middle School it’s all about easing the nerves of the incoming seventh graders and their parents, said WMS Principal Derrick Tvedt. 

The eighth graders and the rest of the high school will begin tomorrow.

Teachers and staff have been busy this week putting the final touches on their classrooms and the school buildings. 

This summer has been filled with projects for the school district. 

Most of the schools received fresh coats of paint and carpeting while some had extra projects to work on to be ready for the students. 

The top-floor windows — many of them originals that did not close properly — were replaced in the 51-year-old building. More of the high school gym roof was re-roofed with more work to be done next summer. 

Jefferson Elementary now has sod on their playground instead of hot asphalt, an idea that came from a student. Jefferson also had windows replaced along with new doors in the rear and front of the building. According to Principal Sara Lucero the old doors no longer closed properly.

WMS replaced their asphalt on the playground with new concrete. According to  Tvedt they deemed the asphalt unsafe.

Along Palmer the city replaced the curbs by the school and removed several trees. That area is now the bus loading and unloading zone. 

Lincoln Elementary installed lockers so that every student would be able to have their own. According to Principal John Gorton, it took three years to gather enough money for the project. 

Highland Park Elementary along with Garfield Elementary didn’t have any huge projects this summer. 

An overall change for the majority of the schools is the addition of 10 extra minutes to the school day.

Highland Park, Jefferson and WMS did not have to add any extra time as they have enough instructional time already, said both Sara Lucero and Tvdet.

Lincoln added the extra time to the end of the day. 

Garfield added five minutes to the morning and five to the afternoon. 

The high school took away five minutes from lunch and added six minutes to the end of the day. Beez Lucero doesn’t foresee any problems with the change in schedule. 

All the school’s principals are looking forward to making this school year great for everyone. 

While the elementary schools and high school begin this week Miles Community College doesn’t start until next week after Labor Day.

This is the second year they’ve done a late start and MCC President Stacy Klippenstein thinks it’s a great success.

“We’ve gotten several students who went on to a big university only to realize it wasn’t for them. With our late start they can still register here,” said Klippenstein. 

The upcoming year like the summer is packed with new and exciting things for the college.