Nothing marks the end of summer quite like the sound of school bells and school buses, which was the exact chorus heard around the community Wednesday as Miami Trace Local Schools and Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) started classes for the 2018-19 school year.
Students in most grades and schools for WCHCS resumed their education Wednesday — with the exception of Cherry Hill Primary School — with an excitable return, according to Tom Bailey, WCHCS Superintendent in his second year.
“We are off to a great start,” Bailey said. “I visited all four buildings first thing on Wednesday to greet the students when they came in. The high school and middle school were first off the bat, they got off to a fast start. Everything seemed to go smoothly there. We chose this year not to publish the bus schedules to help make students at the bus stops a little safer and secure. There is no sense telling any predator out there where a kid, potentially alone, will be standing on a street corner in the morning. So that is a change, and I know some people have been used to that for years, but we made the change to make the environment safer for our students. It was a decision I made. So we have had a lot of calls about getting the schedules, but I wouldn’t say the transportation issues are any more numerous than any other year, just a little bit different.”
Bailey said depending on the inquiry, parents with questions about scheduling, classes or a particular building should contact the school the child will be attending directly (such as the high school or Belle Aire Intermediate). Questions about the transportation department, food services, enrollment procedure, registration of students or other similar inquiries can be directed to the central office.
“We are having individual orientations with parents this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” Cherry Hill Primary Principal Craig Maddux said about the school not beginning on Wednesday. “We have delayed the start of school until next Monday, August 20 for all first and second grades because we feel it is important to have those meetings with parents to share expectations and develop a positive rapport and relationship with our parents. The teachers and I are very excited to have the students back in the building and are looking forward to a terrific school year. Many of them have been working very hard the past several weeks to get prepared for our little ones’ arrival.”
Miami Trace Local Schools also got off to a great start Wednesday at the centralized campus. It’s a time of transition for the district as high school students will move into a brand-new high school — currently under construction — in January. The new school is located on a nearly 60-acre piece of farmland to the east of the football stadium. The new structure will replace the existing high school that opened in 1962.
“Things have gone very well on the first day,” Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis said. “Especially with all the changes we’ve had in transportation and construction. We are loading and unloading differently because of construction over there. Panther Alley has been shut down, so there’s been a lot of change. But despite all that, it’s been really smooth. That is a tribute to our transportation department for putting that together and testing it out before we started the school year.”
Lewis said he visited the high school, middle school and elementary school Wednesday.
“It was a typical first day,” he said. “A lot of kids are excited to get going with the new year. The big thing is to get them here, get them in the right places, get them fed and get them home safely. That’s always the key.”
Lewis added that the high school students seem prepared for the mid-year move into the new building.
“Sometimes a mid-year move can be a challenge, but I get the sense that our students are excited to get to the new high school,” Lewis said. “Students that I’ve talked to throughout the years and students on my superintendent advisory committee all seem to understand that there’s going to be changes, but they’re ready for them. We really appreciate our students, our parents and our community members for being flexible in the middle of all the changes and construction.”