We have completed the first week of school for students. As usual, there were a few things that went fairly well, but we could adjust to make them better or stronger! I would like to take time, this week, to touch on a few of these items.
TRAVEL THROUGH CAMPUS—PART 2
As I shared last week, the utility and road work on County Road 50 during the summer resulted in our driveway and campus parking lot serving as a “shortcut” or unofficial detour between County 2 and County 50. During the school day, we have had to eliminate the “shortcut” for traffic—despite work continuing on County Road 50—because we use some of the parking lot as play area for students.
We have begun using our gates to close the route to traffic. From 8:20 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., the gates will be used and traffic will be stopped from crossing through. In order to ensure safety for our students as they play in the asphalt area, the gates will be used.
We have run through some difficulties, however, with traffic issues before and after the gates close. We understand that County 50 is still under construction and the construction forces paths that no one really wants to take.
However, prior to the start of the school day, the parking lot is our bus drop zone. We bring the vast majority of our students into this area to drop them off for school. After 7:45 in the morning, we need vehicles to stay out of the drop area in order to provide a safe zone for all of our students.
Our School Resource Officer and other Cold Spring police officers have been patrolling the area to redirect traffic. We do not want to ticket or penalize people, but if the vehicle traffic continues in the area, we really have no choice—we must keep the area safe for students.
Beginning about 2:45 in the afternoon, the area also becomes our bus loading zone. All of the buses used for our regular routes arrive in the parking lot. Students begin loading buses just before 3:00. The buses depart from the area about 3:10, but for the half hour period, we simply cannot have vehicles travel through the area.
Again, we know the construction on County 50 presents some challenges for drivers and vehicles. Our primary responsibility, however, is to ensure student safety. That means we will aggressively seek to limit traffic through the loading and unloading zones!
We are excited to report that our opening week enrollment was significantly stronger than we expected. For budgeting purposes, we had estimated enrollment for the year at just under 2000 students—about 1,980 students. As we opened the year, we have enrollment much closer to 2030! The increase is nice to see after a long period of stable or slightly declining enrollment.
Although we will look at the information more closely in the months ahead, the increase seems to come from all sources—there is an increase in open enrollment, an increase in students moving into the district, and an increase in the number of students within the district staying at our sites. Although there were not dramatic swings at any specific grade levels, there were higher numbers at all grade levels except for seniors.
Over the next few days, we will be examining the effects of the increases to determine if there are additional resources that need to be deployed. We will have some discussion about this at the school board meeting on Monday and our administrative team will be watching several elements of our programs to determine the effects.
As we started the year, we made a transition from PaySchools to RevTrak as our financial payment processing system. We expected that the change would be relatively simple and easy to make, but we have been experiencing some difficulties. We are hoping and trusting that constituents will be patient as we work through the adjustments.
Although we had considerable experience with PaySchools, the system was becoming outdated and was not supported as it once was. As such, our business staff spent considerable time looking at alternatives and options. Without a doubt, the feedback we received on the RevTrak system was more positive than other systems.
Many of the issues had been examined during the summer months as we made the transition. Some of the summer allowed opportunity to “pilot” or test the system and it seemed to be responding well. The situations we have encountered were not evident in the processes over the summer.
Based on the experiences of other schools, we have no doubt that our system will be adjusted and meet needs. Unfortunately, we have to work through the transitions and processes to get us to the working system. We appreciate parent, student and staff patience as we make the adjustment.
We had a great opening week of school. For the most part, the district opened in a quiet, smooth and efficient manner. We do have some issues we are working to address, but our overall opening week was very good!