New school year means changes
As students around the district enjoy the last few days of summer vacation, teachers and staff are busy making preparations for the 2012-13 school year.
School start times have been moved 15 minutes later. After a comprehensive study and survey given to parents, teachers and staff, the school board made the decision to move start times back 15 minutes. See individual schools for start and end times.
This year will also mark the first year of RF4C, or 4K preschool. RF4C is a no-cost early learning program available to all four-year olds living in the district.
The program will be housed at the following locations: Abundant Life Christian Learning Center, The C.H.I.L.D. Center, Jacob's Ladder - Ezekiel Lutheran, Little Adventures Child Care Center, River Falls Public Montessori and the University Preschool.
Start and end times are as follow: A.M. -- 9-11:30 a.m.; P.M. -- 12:45-3:15 p.m.
New school hours: 7:40 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
During the summer the high school underwent some remodeling. Security was increased with the addition of cameras both inside and outside the school, as well a visitor entrance change that requires all visitors during the school day to pass through the main office and sign in to enter the building -- which required adding another set of doors that redirected all traffic through the office.
Upgrades have also been made to the energy management system -- heating and cooling -- to improve energy efficiency and save energy dollars.
The main gym floor underwent a "back to the wood treatment" that required it to be stripped, repainted and sealed.
Students will find that the student parking lots will all be connected on the east end to allow for smoother traffic flow -- which should alleviate the traffic back-ups before and after school
Over the summer, the library media center purchased 30 "tablets" for student use. The new tablets can be used for internet access and include keyboards for writing.
There will be building-wide wireless internet service available as well.
In addition to infrastructure and technological improvements, the high school added seven new full and part-time teachers and three new special education assistants.
The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 4, for all students. For more information about the River Falls High School call 715-425-1830
New school hours: 8:45 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.
After graduating over 60% of the school population last year, the Renaissance Academy is in the process of rebuilding the student population.
Student partnerships with local businesses will continue to flourish with the addition of two new businesses -- including O'Keefe who will be working with the school-based business, Renaissance Woodworkers, to learn about better furniture making -- more information at www2.rfsd.k12.wi.us/renaissance/Woods.html.
The Renaissance Academy has also undergone some remodeling work to improve security.
The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 4, for all students. For more information about the Renaissance Academy call 715-425-7687.
Meyer Middle School
New school hours: 7:45 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.
The middle school will be welcoming six new teachers.
The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 4, for all students. For more information about Meyer Middle School call 715- 425-1820.
New school hours: 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. -- playground open at 8:30 a.m.
Due to an increase in enrollment, there will be 18 classroom sections. Additionally, three new teachers have been added.
The first day of school will be Tuesday, Sept. 4. This will be an orientation day that both parents and students are invited to attend. A copy of the orientation day schedule was mailed to students' homes this summer and is available at the River Falls School District website, www.rfsd.k12.wi.us. For more information about Greenwood Elementary School call 715-425-1810.
Rocky Branch Elementary
New school hours: 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. -- playground open at 8:30 a.m.; A.M. preschool - 8:45-11:15 a.m.; P.M. preschool - 1-3:45 p.m.
Major upgrades have been made to the air handling system throughout the building as well as new doors to make the building more energy efficient. Families entering the front of the school will notice the reconfigured entrance which will funnel visitors through the main office for increased security. Classrooms have new sinks to comply with handicapped accessibility codes as well as new cabinets which replaced the old air handling units. Upgrades to wiring will allow the use of better technology for students and staff.
A new counselor has been added as well as the following teacher changes: John Gildseth moves to fourth-grade and Joe Young moves to fifth-grade as they exchange levels as they loop. Shannon DeSmith moves to third-grade this year and Karen Sizemore loops down to second-grade to cover the "bubble" class. With a larger class moving from first- to second-grade, a staffing adjustment was needed, so Pam Ekstrom will be leaving first and moving to the kindergarten level to cover Shannon DeSmith's move to third-grade.
New school hours: 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. -- playground open at 8:30 a.m.
Funds from last year's Westside Carnival were used to purchase new iPads which will be highlighted at an open house by the PTO. An additional fundraiser in September will be used to purchase more iPads.
The theme for this year will be Rise Up...And Shine -- there will be more learning about the nine Character Education traits and PRIDE groups will continue. Westside will be welcoming two new members to their community, to replace retiring staff.
New school hours: 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- different than the other elementary schools -- playground and breakfast will open at 8:30 a.m.
Due to the increase of students, 130 students this year, the Public Montessori was able to hire a new full-time Children's House teacher.
The Public Montessori will also be participating in the RF4C program. In addition it will partner with the new Montessori Training Center at UWRF. Summer courses have already started and are currently being taught in the Public Montessori facilities. The university courses will continue throughout the upcoming school, utilizing the Public Montessori space outside of school hours.
The first day of school will be Tuesday, Sept. 4. This will be an orientation day that both parents and students are invited to attend. A copy of the orientation day schedule was mailed to students' homes this summer and is available at the River Falls School District website, www.rfsd.k12.wi.us. For more information about Public Montessori School call 715-425-7645, ext. 2001.
St. Bridget Catholic
Due to an increase in enrollment a second Kindergarten classroom was added -- part of the cafeteria was converted to this new classroom. To increase space and give more flexibility to the middle school, a locker room was also converted to a new classroom leaving one small room that will be used as a study/reference room and computer lab. Both classrooms have new promethean boards.
Due to some flooding, the 60-year-old gym floor was replaced by volunteers including school parents, parishioners, alumni, and community members. The new floor will be similar in design and will be made of maple.
St. Bridget will also be adding new staff: Hillary Gilles, office assistant; and new teachers: Barb Kujak, PreK-grade 8 physical education and Billie Robinson, middle school language arts teacher.
For more information on St. Bridget Catholic School call 715-425-1872.
Heartland Montessori welcomes some new additions this fall as well as some new staff, Valerie Sowa, head of School; and teacher, Kristine Krinke-Acevez, Elementary Assistant and Spanish Specialist.
Students in the Children's House (preschool-K program) and the Elementary classroom (first-sixth) will be learning Spanish for two hours each day.
The art program has also expanded thanks to the Rich Wilson Memorial Art Fund. This school year, students will be learning from various art specialists in the classrooms, attending a performance at the Ordway, as well as an expanded offering of art materials and supplies in the classrooms for their use.
For more information about Heartland Montessori call 715-426-0350.