"We are so excited about the start of school," Van Buren Elementary Principal Gail Williams said. "The first day is a little hectic but I know everything will be fine."
With construction still going on at all the schools, parents and students may notice some changes.
"Our building renovations and additions began at the end of last school year," Staunton Elementary Principal Sheryl Jordan said. "Everything is scheduled to be completed around December."
"The contractors will continue to work just as they did last spring," Meridian Elementary Principal Karen Phillips added. "Procedures have been put into place to ensure the safety of all the children."
To help everyone have a safe start to the school year here are the directions for the schools that are currently undergoing construction:
*Meridian Elementary -- Students can enter the building at 7:50 a.m., for breakfast. All students will enter the building the same as they did this past school year. For parents or guardians with children driven to school in a car, use the entrance on Meridian St. Phillips asked that parents with children who walk to school, remind them to stay on the sidewalk at all times. Walkers will also be entering the doors on Meridian St. Children who ride the bus will exit the buses parked on Colfax St., walk on the sidewalk and enter the building.
* East Side Elementary -- Students may register today, in the new cafeteria (old gym), enter through the west door. Principal Mary Ray is asking that no one goes into the main portion of the building as the teachers are trying to get rooms set up and construction is still in progress. Classrooms will be open on Tuesday.
The new main entrance is on the east side of the building on Davis St. The main entrance is the southeast door. For the first day, parents may park in the back parking lot to bring children into the building. This will be the new entrance and exit from now on, as the new office will be directly to your left when you enter. After the first day, parents will need to come into the office and sign in.
Student drop off will continue to be on the east side of the building on Davis St. There is now a drop off lane that is to be used. Do not let students off out in the street. For now, students will still use the northeast doors to enter. Doors do not open until 7:55 a.m.
For children who are walking or riding a bike, they will need to go to the playground and enter through the back playground door.
Students will be picked up on the east side of the building as in the past using the pick up lane. Pull up to the orange cone and the staff will be dismissing from the sidewalk like they have done in the past. For now, the buses will be unloading and loading on the west side of the building in the alley next to the new cafeteria. Bus students will be dismissed first then car riders. Walkers and bike riders will be dismissed last after car riders are loaded. The bus loading and unloading will change after the new bus lane in the front of the building is completed.
* Staunton Elementary -- According to Jordan, the new classrooms and renovated areas are ready to be occupied by students and staff. So unlike the end of school last year where students were loaded and unloaded at the recess area, students will be going through the main entrance. Due to the construction this can be changed in the future.
* Van Buren Elementary -- For parents who are dropping off children in the morning, Williams is instructing cars to line up along the east side of the gym until after the buses have unloaded in their designated area. When the buses are finished unloading, the cars may then pull along the sidewalk. When all the cars have pulled forward, a staff member will signal for students to exit the car. Officials are asking for students to exit from the right side of the vehicle onto the sidewalk. The same procedure will follow at the conclusion of the school day, however, students will only be allowed to enter the vehicle from the passenger side. For everyone's safety, Williams is asking that everyone stay in line until a signal is given to leave by a staff member. Also for safety concerns, visitors are not allowed to cross between buses or cars during the loading and unloading times. For parents, guardians or visitors, the main entrance at Van Buren is open and to use the parking places provided and to not park along the sidewalk.
* Forest Park Elementary -- Students who are transported to school in a car in the morning should enter the building at the back southwest doors. Students will enter through the back doors the cars should slowly proceed out on the new road. Substitute Principal Debbie Zimmerman asks that cars yield to buses that may be coming around the drive. Staff will be on duty between the back doors and the point assisting walkers. All car riders will be dismissed at the back southwest doors after the Special Education buses have departed, and then exit the new road. Staff members will supervise and assist the loading of students and bus riders will continue with the same procedure as in the past. The main office is temporarily located in the music room and Zimmerman is asking all parents, guardians and visitors to enter the building through the first set of doors east of the main entrance.
Though the first day of school is going to be a little exciting with the changes and new students, CCSC Transportation Director Frank Misner encourages parents to treat the first day of school like any other day of school.
He also encourages parents to make sure children are at the bus stop on time and that parents talk with children about safety and appropriate behavior while riding the bus.
"We just want to make sure all the kids get to school and get home safely," Misner said.
As the school year progresses, procedures may change and all school principals are encouraging parents to stay updated by reading their child's newsletters or to log onto the Clay Community School website www.clay.k12.in.us.
For more information contact the elementary school.