Reed City board gets update on G.T. Norman Elementary year end

Principal: ‘We are getting back to a little bit of normalcy and being able to do a lot of fun things with our students’

REMUS — At its monthly scheduled meeting, the Reed City Area Public Schools board of education got a review of G.T. Norman Elementary’s end-of-year activities and items on the administration’s to-do list.

G.T. Norman Elementary Principal Stacey Webber gave a presentation to the board, updating members on the elementary’s year-end activities and preparations for the new school year.

The school’s attendance was at 496 students last spring, but jumped up to 512 pupils this spring. 

Webber said enrollment is growing. 

“Our enrollment has gone up this year, attendance too. When we look at it, we're at 92%. Finally, we made it into the 90s. In March, we were at 88%, and in April 89%," Webber said. "Part of this, I believe, is we do have a new truancy officer. He's very good about following through with the parents, and we have seen some of those students who have been through that back at school.

G.T. Norman had several end-of-year events including a ‘Me and My Gal’ moms and sons bowling evening, a grandparent’s day, a first grade concert, and staff appreciation week. The kindergarten students also had a ‘Moms and Muffins’ day to celebrate Mother’s Day. 

According to Webber, the planned events went off with a hitch and saw many smiles among students, their families and staff. 

“Finally, we are getting back to a little bit of normalcy and being able to do a lot of fun things with our students,” Webber said. 

The elementary staff also had professional development days, which they utilized to home skills and techniques in the classroom. Staff have created ‘learning communities’ which they continued to work with during the development days. 

Webber said the staff benefited from the time spent addressing education gaps. 

“I had a lot of really good feedback from my teachers about this professional development,” Webber said. “What I was told was that they appreciated that instead of being told what the data looks like, they actually had time to look at it and decide what it looked like on their own. They got to look at it, talk and they really liked being able to go across the district and speak with everybody in the building, so it was very positive.”   

This summer, the elementary will have a summer school program for incoming kindergartners, called ‘Stepping Into Kindergarten,’ which aims to get kids accompanied by the building and the rooms they will be in when they join a classroom. As of May 19, the elementary had 64 new students registered to start kindergarten in the fall. 

Webber said the program is meant to be a helping hand during the adjustment process. 

“Our hope in starting this (program) is for students to have a chance to ease into kindergarten,” Webber said. “We're hoping that transition, once the school year starts, is going to be an easy transition for them. We're going to get to know them, and they're going to feel comfortable around the school.

“It's going to help us to like with class lists and make sure that we're putting kids with the teachers that they need to be with,” she added. “All five of our kindergarten teachers have offered to teach in the program for us. I think it's going to be a really good program, and we're looking forward to it. We hope that it's something that will continue from year to year.”

The summer program will be Aug. 1-11, and the administration hopes to see even more students registered early prior to the start of the year. The program is set to be a mix of focused class work and fun activities for students. Educational focuses will be on reading, math, and gauging phonetic awareness. 

This year, the elementary graduated a class of 100. 

Webber said the administration is looking forward to welcoming students for the summer sessions and into the fall start.

In other business, the board of education members approved a bus purchase resolution and the MOISD proposed budget.

Members also voted to accept the retirement of longtime staff member Jo Knack, who has been with the district since 1993. They also voted to approve the hire of a new high school ELA teacher, Anna Paul. 

The board's next scheduled meeting is set for June 20 and will have a workshop meeting at 4:30 p.m. prior to the regular meeting at 7 p.m. 

For more information on the RCAPS board of education, visit the district website at www.reedcityschools.org