Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Sydney Yalshevec
Reporter 

School officials prepare for the fall semester

 


Summertime is generally marked by warm weather and the freedom of school children. Usually high school students seek out a summer job to make a little money for themselves and learn responsibility. Younger school age children frequent the pool or ride their bikes around having adventures with friends. However, a large misconception with summertime is that school administrators and teachers get the summers off, free and clear like the students. This isn’t the case.

School superintendent, Marshal Lewis, is as busy as ever during the summer, dealing with maintenance issues, preparedness for the following year, and updates overall.

“It’s a different kind of busy, that’s for sure. There are different issues that arise than during the school year, but I’m still running around trying to get so much accomplished,” Lewis said.

Even though school stops for the students during the summer, with the exception of some summer school, the work does not stop for those involved in keeping the school running. Lewis explained that a lot of what happens during the summer involves taking care of a lot of things that had to be put off until a more convenient time.

“Some projects are easier to accomplish with less students in the school and some are necessary to accomplish during the summer,” Lewis said.

Some projects include replacing tile, work on the boiler, and installing a new playground. Both schools have a lot to get done. The elementary can generally get things done a little quicker because they close to students. The high school remains open for summer school and has a lunch program through the summer that the students can take advantage of if they choose.

“We have to pull up some of the tile and underneath that tile there is asbestos. It’s currently not a threat because it is under the tile, however once we start re-doing the flooring they could be released into the air. So we have to have people come in who know how to work with that and take care of it in a safe manner. That’s the kind of thing that we’re working on getting done while the kids are out,” Lewis said.

While that is a pretty big project for the high school, the elementary school is currently working on obtaining a preschool through grade one playground. The new playground will be the appropriate size so that smaller children will have an easier and safer time playing on it.

“This new playground is a really good thing because that’s one thing that our elementary school always gets told, that they need a playground for the small kids. So they have addressed that issue and hope to put in a new playground once they get it,” Lewis said.

Working during the summer does not come without its challenges. However, some of those challenges are the same as during the school year.

“The thing with a school board that meets once a month, some things can be difficult. Especially when approving projects or contracts for new teachers, both of which we have done our fair share this summer,” Lewis said.

The school board meeting once a month sometimes means that projects get pushed off and that can be an issue during the summer when Lewis is trying to get things accomplished quickly before the start of the new school year.

The school board has taken to having a work session, this allows them to discuss current projects and goings on and then allows them to more quickly approve or push through some of the projects. Though no action is taken as these work sessions, it allows the board members to be informed and ready to take action at their next official board meeting.

Teachers and other school administrators often hear remarks concerning their summer schedule. They often are told they are “lucky they don’t have to work during the summer.” This is not the case at all. Many teachers must still show up and start working long before the school year begins.

“I don’t think people understand how much work the teachers do during the summer. A lot of them are in planning their lessons, getting their classrooms ready. They are always at it,” Lewis said.

Teachers do take advantage of having time off of work and go on vacation, however, most still stop in a few times a week during the summer, and a lot will start showing back up at school the closer they get to the school start date.

“Those weeks before school starts are always so much fun. The new supplies are in and the teachers are there and excited about the kids coming back,” Lewis said.

Supplies are another thing that Lewis tries to take care of as much as possible during the summer. Ordering the bulk of the supplies before school begins allows the schools to save money. It also means that new supplies will be in, and teachers can be prepared for the students when they walk through the doors on their first day back.

“I don’t think your work or your love for learning ever stops when you’re an educator. Even when teachers are on vacation or doing leisure activities I think they are always thinking about how they can improve, or make the learning easier and more fun for the student,” Lewis said.

August is when school gets a start in Kimball. There will be new teacher training on August 12. Teachers have in service days on August 13 and 14. Students official first day back to school is August 15, 2014.

 
 

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