Dickinson schools prepare to welcome students
Backpack ... check.
Crayons ... check.
New shoes ... check.
Dickinson Public School students are enjoying their last Sunday of the summer today. On Wednesday they'll need to wake up early, have a bowl of cereal, pick a mode of transportation and head to school.
Some of them will head back to familiar halls while others have moved to Dickinson from far-off places like Washington, Utah or Louisiana.
The district has estimated there are 289 more students attending Dickinson Public Schools than there were last year, Superintendent Doug Sullivan said.
"We're still receiving new students every day," Sullivan said. "It's exciting for the school district to have all these new students and new families in the community."
The numbers won't be official until the first day of school, Sullivan said. Last year the district started with 2,868 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and ended the year five less students.
"Our estimate at this time is that we will be starting the school year with approximately 3,152 students," Sullivan said.
Prairie Rose Elementary will hold about 280 students, Sullivan said.
"That's what's been keeping us busy this summer, getting ready for the next school year and working on the building," Sullivan said.
An additional section of first grade was added to Lincoln Elementary, Principal Tammy Praus said.
"We'll have four sections of first grade, which is very exciting," Praus said.
At Jefferson Elementary, a few more rooms opened up when teachers moved to Prairie Rose Elementary, creating a home for the art teacher, Principal Rebecca Pitkin said.
"The art teacher will have an art room, she won't be on the cart," Pitkin said.
The reading coach will also take advantage of the freed-up space.
The district hired two teachers who start Monday, Sullivan said. One was already living in Dickinson, but the other was moving from Indiana.
Children living in Dickinson do not have bus service, so it's important for drivers to watch for children traveling to school, whether it's walking the whole way or just across the street as a parent drops them off, Praus said.
"They're shorter, they have a backpack, sometimes they're not always visible in front of those vehicles," Praus said. "Extra safety definitely needs to be a must."
On Monday and Tuesday, the schools are hosting open houses to welcome students and their families.
"It's a great opportunity for students to come in and put their school supplies away and meet and greet with friends and other family members and their teacher, and just get comfortable with the school and procedures," Praus said.
On Monday evening St. John Lutheran Church and other area churches are hosting an event to serve as a meet-and-greet to welcome newcomers to Dickinson at the Biesiot Activities Center. Praus encouraged everyone to attend as a way to get to know their neighbors. Tickets are complimentary and are available at Dan's Super Market
Other ways to get involved in a child's schooling is to join the Parent Advisory Committee of each building and get involved in after-school activities, Praus said.
"They are the first teacher in their children's lives," Pitkin said of parents. "Being involved in school and reading memos and going on our website is critical because we really value their input in their children's lives and we want to partner with them.
"They're the first teacher, absolutely, they are invaluable."
School open houses
Berg Elementary, 5-6 p.m.
Hagen Junior High, eighth-graders, 7 p.m.
Dickinson High School, 8:15-11:45 a.m. featuring orientation for freshman and new students
Heart River, Jefferson, Lincoln, Prairie Rose and Roosevelt elementary, 5-6 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Hagen Junior High, seventh-graders, 7 p.m.