KINGDOM CITY, Mo. — The North Callaway Middle School building might look familiar, but it will hold a wealth of new opportunities for students arriving there in August.
This will be North Callaway R-1's first school year with a dedicated middle school. The district eliminated Auxvasse Elementary School, splitting its students between Hatton-McCredie Elementary and Williamsburg Elementary and re-christening the building as North Callaway Middle School (bit.ly/2ZpkMiB). All district sixth- through eighth-graders will attend NCMS.
"The middle school is going to be where our biggest changes are," Superintendent Nicky Kemp said.
The change will allow the district to offer new classes, she said.
"For example, at Williamsburg, when you only have nine or 14 eighth-graders, it's hard to offer a variety of math classes at different levels, but with bringing all of our middle school students to one school, we'll now be able to offer different level of those core subjects," she said.
With more teachers focused on educating a smaller range of grade levels in a single facility, the district will also be able to offer additional, more involved, semester-long elective classes.
"We're adding an (agriculture) teacher there because when a survey was sent out to the students and parents, that was one of the highest elective courses that the kids wanted to take," Kemp said.
Another new class, Intro to Languages, will give students brief introductions to three different languages, including American Sign Language. There will also be additional physical education options.
Kemp said there won't be many changes to the NCMS building.
"We're just using the facility we have access to," she said.
However, the reshuffle will allow Hatton-McCredie to stop using trailers and bring all students into the building, she added. Students at NCMS will continue to use one trailer for gifted classes.
Like all other area school districts, North Callaway is adapting to the challenges caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The district had to switch to distance learning through the end of spring semester.
Currently, the district plans to have students return to in-person classes in August; there are no plans to require mask-wearing, though students and staff may wear a facemask if they so choose.
Families uncomfortable with returning to in-person classes may opt for online learning; there's an option to do so when completing online enrollment. The district will reach out to any family that does so for more information, Kemp said. Those students will take classes on Acellus, a platform the district has long used.
Should the district need to distance learning, teachers will be ready, Kemp said.
"We're prepping so if we have to close school for any length of time this year, we'll have a virtual curriculum in place," Kemp said. "This summer has given us a chance to plan ahead."
The curriculum isn't changing in any major ways, though the way teachers teach the curriculum has to evolve if the district closes its doors once more.
"There are not any huge changes, except, you know, how are we going to adjust to the new normal?" Kemp said.
Teachers will be trained in using Google Classroom and Google Hangouts, recording lessons, managing Acellus, video conference etiquette and more. If distance learning becomes necessary, they'll make sure to check in on each and every student regularly. Students will complete coursework through Acellus.
Building announcements will be made through Blackboard, and teachers will communicate with families via email or telephone.
Students will be graded as usual.
Though paper packets will be available to families unable to access the internet, Kemp said the district will work to expand access to families. Currently, about 10 percent of families do not have internet access.
"Kingdom Telephone and Callabyte both put up Wi-Fi hotspots at the elementary parking lots," she said. "We didn't have one at the high school, though this year we may have to change that if we have (an extended period of closure)."
In the event of a closure, lunches will still be available to students.
Other changes coming to North Callaway are more routine. The district is working to replace 16 teachers among its buildings — one teacher retired and the rest moved on for other reasons. Kemp said hiring replacements has proved difficult. The district has received relatively few applicants.
"We still have some openings," she said.
Among administrators, Nicole Buschmann is new to her role as assistant superintendent this year (bit.ly/38UrOyX). She previously served within the district as the assistant principal at North Callaway High School.
The district won't be doing much construction work this year, though a crew recently finished replacing the roof over the North Callaway High School gym.
Kemp said she's excited to tackle the changes this year will bring the district.
"We're looking at the education that we are providing for our students, and always looking for ways to improve and to make it better so that we are able to produce citizens that are going to be productive in their life," she said.
Superintendent: Nicky Kemp
District office contact: 2690 Thunderbird Dr., Kingdom City, MO 65262; 573-386-2214; [email protected]
Hatton-McCredie Elementary School: Principal Christy Biggers, [email protected]; 4171 County Road 240, Kingdom City, MO 65262; 573-642-4333; Fax: 573-642-5624
Williamsburg Elementary: Principal Angela Wimmer, [email protected]; 10500 Old US Highway 40, Williamsburg, MO 63388; 573-254-3415; Fax: 573-254-3859
North Callaway Middle School: Principal Jessica Huyser, [email protected]; 650 E Harrison St, Auxvasse, MO 65231; 573-386-2217; Fax: 573-386-2039
North Callaway High School: Principal Brian Jobe, [email protected]; 2700 Thunderbird Drive, Kingdom City, MO 65262; 573-386-2211; Fax: 573-386-2403
To register, parents must provide immunization records, proof of residency, a birth certificate and proof of guardianship (if applicable). The district will open online enrollment for returning families July 13; and in-person enrollment for new families or those who need help with online enrollment Aug. 3.
First day of school: Aug. 25
Winter break: Dec. 23-Jan. 4
Spring break: April 2-5
Last day of school: May 28
Open houses: Elementary open houses, Aug. 18, 5:30-7 p.m.; high school open house, Aug. 20, 5:30-7 p.m.
Average student-to-teacher ratio: 17
Projected enrollment: 1,035
Facility changes: Auxvasse Elementary will be converted into North Callaway Middle School.
Goal: "Get as many of our kids to school as possible."