By Heath Oates
El Dorado Spring R-2 Superintendent
This article is intended to inform district patrons about the first few days of school in the El Dorado Springs R-2 School District. These are also my first few days of observing how school functions.
On the first day of school, a group of about 6 high school students were hanging around outside the high school office, by 7:05 (almost an hour before the first bell rang). They rang the doorbell and I went outside to check on them and I talked with them a few minutes. Though they were here an hour early, they complained, as teenagers do, about having to wake up early and about how “school sucks.” One kid told me we’d be out again in about two weeks. It’s good to have the kids back. I am reminded of how much I enjoyed being a high school teacher.
As I began to walk down the halls, I watched elementary car dropoff procedures. This seems to be the best we can do with the way things are laid out. I appreciated the positivity of the staff, the patience of the drivers and the smiles on the faces of the students.
A few things have changed for our lunch and breakfast procedures. To protect from the virus, most of our students are eating in the classrooms now, and not in the cafeteria. This is creating extra trash, and a few more spills, and some extra work for our cafeteria and custodial people.
As I have said in board and staff meetings, we will do what we think is necessary to keep kids in school and keep them learning. If that means that staff have to monitor students in their classrooms during lunch so that we can minimize the spread of the virus, then we will. If that means that staff and students have to wear protective equipment, we will do that, too. If we have to send some staff and students who have been exposed to the virus home for a while, so that the rest of the people can stay here at school, we will do that.
At the end of the day, getting all the students picked up safely and getting the buses out was very interesting. I directed traffic at the exit of the bus ramp along Park Street. People were very nice. We had every student loaded within 30 minutes of dismissal. This was pretty good for the first day.
On Thursday, teachers and administrators refined the systems to move students around the building safely. The teaching began in every classroom in earnest. While students began to learn academic skills in the traditional way, many students also learned how to access curricular materials online. If and when we have to go to virtual schooling again, we are much better prepared and will be able to deliver instruction in a more effective way.
On Thursday evening, the Board of Education met and set the tax rates for the year.
On Friday, we had school again. On Friday evening there was a football game and Senior Night for all the football, volleyball, cross country, band, and cheer seniors. Usually Senior Night is later in the season, but this year, the week-to-week and day-to-day state of our athletics schedule led us to have it now, while we were sure we could. The game worked out well for the Bulldogs, with a 44-28 win over the Stockton Tigers. Congratulations to Coach Beckner and our players! I’m told that the El Dorado Springs seniors are 4-time champions in the Cedar County Bowl.
It’s now Monday morning, the first full week of school. Kids and teachers are in class. We are still adjusting our procedures for efficiency for all. Please bear with us as we continue to make these improvements which maximizes safety and student learning for everyone! We’ll have a high school volleyball game this week and another football game! Go Bulldogs!
By Heath Oates