Small schools prepare for school year

Argen Duncan

By Argen Duncan

PNT senior writer

aduncan@pntonline.com

With school in Dora, Elida and Floyd starting Wednesday, school employees and students are looking ahead into the new academic year.

“I’ve just really enjoyed my time at Elida, and I plan to make the best of this last year,” said Elida High School incoming senior Justus Criswell.

Criswell plans to be active in 4-H and FFA, as well as playing several sports. After graduation, he intends to attend Tulsa Welding College in Oklahoma.

Criswell advised incoming freshmen to get involved in different groups and leadership activities in order to make friends, build self-esteem, strengthen their resumes and have fun.

Elida Superintendent Jim Daugherty said he’s expecting around 130 students, about the same as last year.

School staff members have been preparing their rooms, and a teacher in-service is scheduled Monday and Tuesday, Daugherty said. Student-athletes have begun conditioning.

The staff and programs are similar to last year’s, but the school has upgraded its computer labs with more modern web-based computers, Daugherty said.

At Floyd Municipal Schools, the middle school students are to start participating in an academic intervention program that has been successful at the elementary level, said Damon Terry, the new pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade principal. In the program, every student does the same curriculum, but those who need extra help in core subjects get extra small-group teaching.

In addition, over the past year, Floyd schools has installed a new technology network, including phones and servers.

“So the whole technology backbone is state-of-the-art,” said Superintendent Paul Benoit.

Another difference this year is a new technology and business teacher.

In preparation for the year, teachers have been going through training, which is scheduled to continue next week.

“Our key is we’re investing in the teachers and the experience they bring first,” Benoit said. “You can buy the best program, but our greatest strength is our teachers.”

Also, two-a-day practices have begun for football and volleyball, Benoit said.

Benoit expects 240 to 250 students this year, the usual number.

In Dora, Superintendent Steven Barron said in-services had started Thursday and would cover test scores, differentiated instruction and more through Monday.

For the upcoming year, the district has purchased a new online professional development program and changed the gym lighting to save on energy costs. A new mobile computer lab is available as well.

Dora also has two new teachers, two new cooks and a new principal, Brandon Hayes.

Barron said pre-enrollment was ongoing, and he expected the usual number of students, 240 to 250.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure every student is challenged and every student makes progress,” he said.