Behind the Scenes: Gearing Up for the 2018-19 School Year:
What really happens at USD 253 during the summer? For many, it might appear that when school ends in May, the district closes for the summer. In other words, the inner workings of our school district during the summer simply go unnoticed by many. The truth is, here at Emporia Schools we have a team of dedicated staff throughout the district that accomplishes a substantial number of projects so that when August rolls around, we are ready to begin the school year.
Beginning as early as January and often much sooner, our Director of Maintenance, Bob Fancher, begins working with administrators, teachers, and vendors to start the process of planning for summer work that occurs like clockwork each year. A few major projects that took place this summer include a new roof at Village, a new loading dock at Logan Avenue, renovating an entire classroom at Walnut, and some major kitchen renovations in the EHS kitchen, not to mention the routine deep cleaning, floor waxing and carpet cleaning that take place throughout all of our buildings. We have an awesome group of dedicated custodial, maintenance, and grounds staff who make sure our buildings are ready inside and out for students and staff when they return in August. This group works tirelessly under the radar to ensure that our facilities are ready for the first day of school.
Another group that works hard during the summer includes Becky, Jason, and Forrest, along with their counterparts at the Transportation Department, to make sure that all of our vehicles are ready to start the school year. For example, each year the Kansas Highway Patrol completes inspections of the entire fleet of USD 253 vehicles that carry students. This year, like most years, all of our vehicles passed on the first inspection. That does not happen by accident; it happens because great people are working behind the scenes to make sure that our fleet is maintained properly. This year, our district had 45 buses pass inspection along with an additional 19 passenger vehicles that transport students as well as an additional 36 vehicles that support other areas of our organization.
Other departments that are busy during the summer include Food Service staff members who provided approximately 536 meals each day this summer during our summer meal program. The Community Relations department began planning for student enrollment shortly after the first of the year and has enrolled approximately 3,700 students to date. Finally, building and district-level secretaries devoted time this summer to make sure that supplies were ordered, salaries were accurate, schedules were updated, and student and parent questions were answered. District staff organized a summer migrant program designed to help eliminate a loss of academic skills over the summer in which around 50 students participated, and approximately 100 students participated in summer driver education classes.
Certified staff members also spent several days out of their summer working to expand their teaching skill set. Our lead teachers began their summer by spending three days to revise and expand our curriculum while other staff members received professional training at a variety of locations to learn more about Adaptive Schools, Trauma Informed Schools, International Society for Technology in Education, Kansas Leadership Center, AVID, and specialized training from The Buck Institute. The bottom line is that our staff members are truly dedicated to growing professionally in order to continue to meet the needs of our students.
The list of summer activities I have shared only scratches the surface of the many activities, accomplishments, and projects that have been completed during the past two months. As you can see, while most students may not attend classes during the summer, a great deal of coordination, effort, and time goes into ensuring that when all students return to school, they have a great experience. We are truly blessed to have a dedicated, supportive, and skilled staff that truly cares about the Emporia school community. We look forward to an awesome 2018-19 school year.