School starts on Tuesday

Ron Burtz

When students in Custer School District go back to school Tuesday, big changes await, especially for those on the east side of the county. Staff members began moving into Hermosa’s spacious new two-story building last week and students in the lower and upper grades of the K-eight school will occupy brand new classrooms. Grades two through four will remain in classrooms in the original school building.
Because Phase 2 of the project, which will include a new music room and a second gym, will be ongoing through the fall, students will be dropped off and picked up at the southeast corner of the complex at the intersection of Vilas and 4th streets. Vilas will be one-way traffic between 3rd and 4th streets and will be blocked off between 4th and 5th to through traffic. Fourth Street between Vilas and Main (Hwy. 40) will also be closed. The temporary entrance to the building will be through the doors on the northeast corner of the building which lead to the lunch room. Pick-up time for family groups will be at 3:35 p.m. and for individual students the time is 3:40.
Due to construction, the activities bus which transports students to Custer will pick up at the Hermosa Lutheran Church parking lot at 2:30 p.m. Practices will end at 6:30 and students will return to Hermosa on the bus.
At Custer Jr./Sr. High (CHS), students will have a little more breathing room also because the former two-room Hermosa modular annex, which had to be moved to make way for construction, was relocated to a spot just west of the high school near the band room exit. It will be used to provide space for Spanish class, a digital imaging class and online classes.
One big change for all the schools will be the large number of new and reassigned staff members. At the jr./sr. high, former family and consumer sciences teacher Tiffany Newman will become the new guidance counselor, and Nora Smolnisky, who taught English and oversaw senior projects last year, takes over the new position of half-time district curriculum coordinator. In addition, custodian Bruce Katawicz becomes the new CHS head custodian. The high school also has six new teachers and paraprofessionals and one custodian who is new to the district.
At Custer Elementary School (CES), two teachers and two paras are new to the district and three current staff members have been reassigned. Hermosa is adding 11 new staff members starting with a new principal in Forrest “Frosty” Paris who takes over for Lori Enright who resigned last spring. The list of new staff members includes a new school counselor, six teachers, a behavior technician, a paraprofessional and a night custodian. In addition, three district staff members have been reassigned to teaching positions in Hermosa.
Some important dates to keep in mind (which can also be found in the district’s full-page ad in this issue) are student/parent open houses at all the schools. At CES and Hermosa, open houses are Thursday from 5-6:30 p.m. A public open house for Hermosa will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday and all community members are welcome. The Custer junior kindergarten and kindergarten meeting is set for the same day at 6 p.m. in the elementary gym.
The parent/student open house at CHS is set for Aug. 23 from 5-6:30 p.m. Student computer check-out is currently taking place through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at CHS and schedules will also be available at that time.
Parents are urged to sign up for the school messenger program which sends out district announcements via landline or cell phone. Parents may contact their child’s school to have a phone number added or removed from this automated system.
The school day for all elementary students will begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 3:35 p.m. Hours for jr./sr. high will be 7:50 a.m. until 3:44 p.m.

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