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Hitting the books
by Jalana Robinson
Landmark reporter


When the calendar rolls over onto the eighth month of the year, it's a reminder to students that it's time to trade in the summer swimsuits and sprinklers for a new set of school clothes and a desk.

Summer is winding down for many who reside within Platte County and schools are ready to greet those individuals once again, for some the very first time.

PLATTE COUNTY R-3
The academic year for Platte County R-3 begins on Wednesday, Aug. 22.

Kindergarten through fifth grade students can get ready to use a new integrated reading program with the help of Accelerated Reader computer software.

The new reading series will combine spelling, grammar and reading comprehension with technology components.

"We think it will increase their desire to read because it ties in with computers," said Platte County R-3 Assistant Superintendent Ron Harmon.

He also said that sixth through eighth grade will have a new literature series that also includes technical components.

Changes in the curriculum will not be the only difference, according to Harmon.

Beginning this month, the new regulation size softball field should become visible to students as Dannie Stamper and Dan Tylski develop the land north of Siegrist Elementary School and west of the high school.

Harmon said the field may be able to hold events as early as this fall while the press box, concession stand and restrooms will be an ongoing project.

The field is a collaborative effort by the Platte City Athletic Association, Platte City Parks and Recreation Department, a county outreach grant, and the R-3 School District.

Starting in late September and early October, the district will be growing in size.

Six additional classrooms will be added to Siegrist. Meanwhile Paxton School will be enhanced with eight additional classrooms, a new media center, computer lab, office suite and other renovations.

During this time the middle school and high school will be joined by a music room that should be ready for the fall of 2002.

At Barry School, the new roof is in the final stages of completion and the library will be relocated to its permanent position. Some unfinished classroom space still remains.

Back at Platte County High School, the 11 security cameras should be installed by the start of the school year. "The intent is to increase the safety and security," said Harmon.

In the Wilson Center for Performing Arts, an LCD projector has also been installed that will allow VCR, DVD and computer programs to be projected onto an electronic screen.

Harmon explained that the projector could be used for many things from large group presentations to closed circuit TV for graduations.

Platte County R-3 Schools welcome the following teachers into the district: at Rising Star- Cindi Louderback, first grade; Janny Bricker, first grade; at Siegrist- Dawn Long, second grade; Rachel Minter, special services; Tiara Brown, second grade; at Paxton- Sharon Montgomery, fifth grade; at Platte City Middle School- Pam Singer, sixth grade math; Bruce Snodgrass seventh grade social studies; Jennifer Stammers, fifth through eighth grade mucic; Wes James, seventh grade science; at Barry/PCMS-Michael Reik, assistant principal. Barry is still seeking a middle school English teacher; at Platte County High School- Kenna Sampsell, special services; Sarah Derks, biology, Whitney Reineke, English; Dan Stevens, special services; Bev Wolf, art; John Minnick, English and journalism; Sharron Breslow, part-time art; at Northland Career Center- Richard Peterson, vocational prep; and Pam Miller, part-time counselor.

WEST PLATTE R-2
The doors will open on Monday, Aug. 20 for the first day of school at West Platte with an early dismissal at 1:15 p.m.

New programs and a new elementary principal await the students.

For the first time interactive television (ITV) classes will be conducted at R-2.

Building principal Stan Coulson said that students from North Platte R-1, East Buchanan and Buchanan County R-4 will be able to take ITV classes in French taught from West Platte.

Coulson also said that for the first time students will be able to receive dual credit in chemistry and college algebra. "I believe a student could get up to 24 college credit hours here," Coulson said, "We have all four core areas covered now."

The gifted program is also being reintroduced to the seventh and eighth grade this year and should eventually make it to the high school level. According to Coulson, the gifted program has not been active the past couple of years and has just recently been used in the elementary.

Elementary building principal Dave Waddell will experience his first year as a principal. "Coming in as a new principal, there aren't going to be huge sweeping changes," he said.

According to Waddell, the focus this year will be on character building skills.

"It's nothing we haven't done in the past, it will just be a more focused effort," Waddell said.

He also said that the curriculum committee will be updating the math program, and that the reading program will focus more on writing.

The West Platte R-2 District welcomes the following individuals: at West Platte Elementary- Deborah Campbell, fifth grade; Kim (Drabczuk) Jaster, second grade; Shari Hart, special services; Christine Myers, Before and After Day Care supervisor; Jodi Snodgrass, sixth grade; Dave Waddell, elementary principal; Shawna Wallace, Before and After Day Care director; at West Platte High School- Heather Bass, vocational music; Jack Biddle, industrial arts; Kevin Bryan, coach; Janel Coulson, junior high science; Eric Klingensmith, English/speech/drama; Kimberly Klingensmith, home economics; Barbara Martin, co-cheerleader sponsor; Sherry McGhay, Spanish/English; Carol Porter, pom pon sponsor; Lorie Russell, special services; and Marjorie Williams, title I clerk.

NORTH PLATTE R-1
It will be back to the books for North Platte students on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

The distance learning lab, a project that was first used last spring for an ACT workshop, will be in full swing at R-1.
Interactive television classes (ITV) will be offered at R-1 for students wishing to take French from an ITV teacher at West Platte R-2.

The opportunity for learning increases since students can log on for courses offered online.

In the past students were released for one block to take college courses, but now they'll be able to take different classes from a variety of colleges through the internet. North Platte recently purchased 38 new computers and the majority of them will be used in the distance learning lab.

College algebra will also be offered to juniors and seniors for dual credit.

North Platte will also be updating the technology of its safety.

"We've had security cameras inside the building. This is a new system," said Green.

The new system will put more security cameras inside and outside the school grounds and will monitor the areas 24 hours a day.

North Platte will hold an orientation for any new high school students or freshmen and their parents on Monday, Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. at the high school.

North Platte R-1 welcomes the following new staff members: Terry Siems, high school social sciences; Andrea Finney, special services; Rene Bowen, junior high social studies; and Pam Tarawinski, computer aide.