NEW BLOOMFIELD, Mo. — In addition to planning for a pandemic, the New Bloomfield R-3 School District is preparing for another significant change — the switch to a four-day school week.
Under the new calendar, students will go to school Tuesday through Friday. On the extra weekdays, the district is launching Monday Academy for students who need extra academic help. The first is scheduled Sept. 21.
Teachers and staff will come in on rotation to assist students who qualify for remediation. Transportation and lunch services will be offered.
"My goal for Monday Academy is to grow it," Superintendent Sarah Wisdom said. "It wasn't about just going to school four days; what can we make the best out that fifth day? These are things that we've always wanted to do, but we never had time when we had a five-day week."
A student who goes to every Monday Academy could get up to 96 hours of remediation, an opportunity for serious academic gains. Each student will have a goal, such as reading fluency, that teachers will help them accomplish.
"We want to try to individualize that as much as possible so that we're meeting those kids and trying to give them that gain and knowledge where they might be lacking," Wisdom said.
The New Bloomfield High School library will be open Mondays for students looking to do some research or catch up on homework.
A driver's education program and an internship program for juniors and seniors are also planned for Mondays.
"With the help of the Callaway Chamber of Commerce, I wrote an internship program," Wisdom said. "We're hoping to get some of our upper-level kids, juniors and seniors, possibly some internships in some job fields that they would like to test out."
Mondays will also serve as weather make-up days if necessary.
"We're trying to figure out those niches that are being missed and what we can do on that fifth day, on that Monday, to provide our students with what they need," Wisdom said.
COVID-19 and calendar changes aren't the only things parents and students will see new in August. The district will also launch an initiative to provide school supplies free to all students and welcome a new elementary school principal, Jennifer Fletcher.
"The school supplies is something that we've been throwing around, and COVID kind of pushed that to the forefront," Wisdom said. "We obviously don't want kids to be sharing classroom material."
Every year, families head out to the store to load up on school supplies armed with a list. That won't be necessary this year.
The school will provide basic supplies, like pencils, crayons and scissors. All parents have to worry about are personal items like backpacks and lunch boxes.
"We're going to give it a shot this year," Wisdom said. "We've gotten some very positive remarks of the community thanking us for doing that."
The initiative will also help cut down on waste.
"For instance, on the list you might have gallon baggies, and each kids brings a (box) of gallon baggies for kindergarten, and at the end of the year, we may have 20 boxes of gallon baggies left," Wisdom said. "So cutting down on that waste is one thing and relieving some burden from our parents school supply shopping-wise and getting out teachers what they need."
The district set up a committee earlier this summer to plan for reopening. Families can expect more details about the plan Monday.
"I think our teachers and our community did a wonderful job with the school closure last year," Wisdom said. "With how it happened so suddenly, it was new to all of us. We really tried to make the best out of the learning experience for our kids, but it could be so much better."
Now the focus is on blended learning.
"If we have to go to kids learning from home, how can we make that better for them, for our parents, for teachers?" Wisdom said. "So we are going to start integrating. We have technology, but we're going to start doing some of those activities while the kids are here to get them used to it if we have to close again."
Everyone was taken by surprise last year, but in the future the district will have a game plan to fall back on.
"Now's the time to improve it for sure," Wisdom said.
Superintendent: Sarah Wisdom
District office contact: 307 Redwood Drive, New Bloomfield, MO 65063; 573-491-3700; Fax: 573-491-3772; Website: https://www.nb.k12.mo.us/
New Bloomfield Middle/High School: Principal Paul Cloudwrigth, [email protected]; 307 Redwood Drive, New Bloomfield, MO 65063; 573-491-3700; Fax: 573-491-3772;
New Bloomfield Elementary School: Principal Jennifer Fletcher, [email protected]; 307 Redwood Drive, New Bloomfield, MO 65063; 573-491-3700; Fax: 573-491-3772.
Registration for returning students is available online at https://bit.ly/3j8AVAA. Parents can download the registration packet and send in filled documents by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] New students will need to submit proof of residency forms. The district has also set aside 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 6 for registration.
New Bloomfield is introducing a four-day school week. With a few exceptions, Aug. 24, Nov. 23 and March 29, regular school work will take place Tuesday-Friday.
Open house: Aug. 19
First day of school: Aug. 24
Thanksgiving break: Nov. 25-27
Winter break: Dec. 20-Jan. 1
Spring break: April 1-2
Last day of school: May 28
Last year enrollment: 724
Staff changes: Jennifer Fletcher, New Bloomfield Elementary School principal. Six staff retired last year. The district is also hiring a second music teacher.
Goals: Ensuring the safest environment for students and staff, while integrating technology and blended learning.