Weiser schools ready for opening day

Looking forward to the start of a new school year next Monday morning, Aug. 22, Weiser’s educators and school administrators are excited to welcome students back after an all too quick summer.
 Students are returning to a new experience in a four-day school week, decided on by Weiser’s School Trustees late last May. Administrators sound positive about their building’s new bell schedules, while at the same time allowing for unanticipated challenges.
 The biggest change for students is an added half-hour on each end of the four school days. The added half-hour is slightly different at each building.
 For Weiser’s elementary students at Pioneer School, breakfast will be available when the doors open at 7:45 a.m. to 8:05 a.m., and classes will begin at 8:15 a.m., finishing at 3:35 p.m.
 “I’m always excited for a new year,” Pioneer Principal Dr. Sarah Hatfield said. “It’s the most fun and my favorite time of year.
 “We will have to remember grace and patience with the new four-day week for the first few weeks,” she added. “No doubt there will be some challenges that haven’t been on our radar. But, the additional time will allow us to do some things within our days.”
 Hatfield wants to remind parents the area in front of the school parallel to Pioneer Road is for dropping off students.
 “If parents wish to walk their students into school, we ask that they park on the street,” she said. “Another thing I’d like to ask of residents in the area is that they please clean up after their dogs if they are using any of the playground areas for exercising their pets.”
 Across town at Park Intermediate School, new Principal Brooke Winston is expecting the change to four days to smooth out within a couple of weeks. Within her 20 years in education, after earning a counseling degree Winston spent a few years in Homedale as the school counselor.
 “Homedale was already on a four-day week when I started there and it worked very well,” Winston said. “I think our students will adapt easily.”
 Park’s breakfast will be served from 7:35 a.m. to 8 a.m., with school beginning at 8:05 a.m. and ending at 3:50 p.m. 
 The annual Back to School Night is set for Thursday, Aug. 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students will meet Mrs. Winston, their teachers and school staff, while having a chance to see their new classrooms. 
 Winston said the school will continue practicing the district’s safety procedures, doing drills regularly.
 “Our overall goal is to keep everyone in our care safe,” she said. “All of our exterior doors will remain locked. We will have some form of alert in place by the time school starts so we know when someone enters the main entrance.”
 Weiser Middle School Principal Kenneth Dewlen believes any challenges with the four-day week will be worked out rather quickly.
 “We’ve been working on this change since May,” Dewlen said. “Change is always hard, but our educators and students are resilient.”
 WMS’s day will start with breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. The front doors will open at 7:55 a.m., with classes beginning at 8 a.m., and ending at 3:50 p.m.
 Dewlen is happy with improvements made in the gym over the summer, plus some exciting new offerings in the school’s elective courses. 
 “There’s a brand new floor, and new pads on the walls,” he said. “It’s almost a new gym. Then, we’ve added a class in career exploration, where students can learn about finances, community service, home economics (cooking and sewing), textile and interior design, and career development.”
 There are hopes students will utilize any extra time in their classes to complete assignments, but in addition, a “flex” period in the last 40 minutes of the day will allow time to work through each day’s assignments, as well as receive any help, if needed.
 Weiser High School Principal Dave Davies said he’s encouraging patience while the students and teachers become accustomed to the new schedule.
 “There will be challenges, but it’s also a way to reinvent ourselves,” he said.
 Breakfast will be served inside the school’s “zero” hour, which runs from 6:55 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. First period starts at 8 a.m., with each class through the day running an hour. School will be released at 3:50 p.m. each day.
 Davies said freshmen will have an orientation on the first day of school.
 “We set aside three class periods on the first day of school to get the freshmen acquainted with the school and answer questions,” he said. “Upperclassmen will help out, and then we’ll buy them all lunch and they can see how the cafeteria works.”
Bus schedules
 WSD Transportation Supervisor May West said with the new schedule buses will be picking up riders about 15 minutes earlier in the mornings than last year.
 “In the afternoons, students will ride the same bus home they rode in the mornings,” West said.
 West emphasized a change for students boarding the bus at Wildwood Apartments on West 7th Street.
 “They will be on bus 16 on both ends of the day,” she said. “But, Pioneer students will walk to school from there.
 “Students who have caught a bus at Pioneer School to go to one of the other schools in the mornings will need to go to the stop at Pioneer Village, or the stop at Pioneer and 6th,” West added. “The morning buses will drop students off at Pioneer School last, and return to the bus barn from there.”
 Additionally, there will only be one run from Pioneer School in the afternoons, with the early and late bus runs now obsolete under the new four-day week.
 Drivers in the areas of schools will want to be aware school zone speed limits will be in effect come Monday, as well as being aware of the earlier times students will be walking to school, and buses will be stopping to pick up waiting students.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
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