Back to school

Students in both local school districts will start the 2013-14 school year on Thursday, Aug. 22, and officials and teachers at both districts are gearing up with a series of meetings and events.

Rocky Mountain Elementary School Principal Karma Sanders said the annual Preschool Program Family Night will be held Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 5:30 p.m. Parents and students are invited, and dinner will be served at the elementary school cafeteria. Parents and students are also welcome to tour the preschool room at the administration building.

Next up is an elementary school open house on Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. during which students can meet their teacher, drop off supplies and see their room and desk.

School begins Thursday and runs from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

The first day for preschool classes is Monday, Aug. 26.


Rocky Mountain Middle/High School Principal Tim Winland said the annual orientation for sixth-graders and any other new students is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The orientation is for students and their parents, and attendees will be taken to find their classrooms based on their schedule and meet their teachers. Lunch will be simulated by handing out ice cream sandwiches.

The orientation will be followed at 5 p.m. by the middle school sports and physical education orientation in the library for all students participating in sports this year. Coaches will be on hand to explain the athletics programs.

All students must have completed a sports physical before they can practice.

As with the elementary school, the first day of school at the middle/high school will be Aug. 22, and the bell schedule is 8 a.m. to 3:22 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Friday.

A high school meet the squad night is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29, at 6 p.m. where coaches, parents and players will get together for a barbecue served by the Grizzly Booster Club. Winland said the idea is for coaches and athletes in the fall sports to get acquainted and enjoy some good food while making sure all paperwork is in place for the season. Schedules will be passed out as well, he said.

Sports action begins the next day with the North Big Horn Invitational Volleyball Tournament in Lovell and Cowley and the Grizzly football team playing a “week zero” game in Powell against the Powell Panther JVs at 6 p.m.

Winland said everything is ready to go for the school year except that he noted that construction on the new concession stand, restroom and storage building just south of the football field is behind schedule. He said he hopes the facility will be in use sometime during the football schedule, perhaps for the final two home games.

The principal is confident that the new lights for the football field will be operating for the football season, though this week they were awaiting some final work.

“Friday night lights is back,” Winland said. “All four of our home games are scheduled to be under the lights.”

The lights have been tuned to cover the entire facility so that even a twilight track meet could be scheduled in the spring.

Winland said fans will also notice a new sound system at the field with a state-of-the-art public address system for the football and track and field complex.

Fans will enjoy the newly-planted grass around the stadium and on the berm next to the field, Winland said.

Lovell Elementary

Registration for Lovell Elementary School will be held Monday, Aug. 19, from 9 a.m. to noon. It’s an important morning, Principal Cheri Hoffman said, because parents and students can meet their teachers, bring school supplies, tour the school, buy lunch tickets and prepare for the new school year. All teachers will be present including music and P.E. teachers, the school nurse and the principal to answer any questions or hear any concerns students or parents might have.

“Any new or incoming kindergarten students have to get their immunization records to us and bring a certified birth certificate and social security number,” Hoffman said. “That’s required by the state. If immunizations are not up to date, this is a great time to do it.”

The first day of school is Thursday, Aug. 22, and classes run from 8:20 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Kindergarten students will have only a half day of school for the first two weeks – Aug. 22-Sept. 6 – with classes dismissed at noon following lunch and recess. Buses will run early for kindergarten students on those days.

Hoffman said kindergarten parents are welcome to be on the playground for the first two days of school to drop off and pick up their kids.

She also noted that there will be no afternoon recess for fifth-graders this year because of curriculum demands and to help them prepare for middle school.

Two back-to-school nights are scheduled this year. The nights are for parents so they can meet with teachers and learn teacher and school expectations for their student(s). The nights are Tuesday, Aug. 27, for kindergarten through second-grade parents and Thursday, Aug. 29, for grades three through five.

Kindergarten and third-grade sessions are from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., first and fourth grades from 6:15 to 7 p.m. and second and fifth grades from 7 to 7:45.

“It’s really important that they come because a lot of information will be disseminated,” Hoffman said.

New teachers this year include kindergarten teacher April Nicholls, third-grade teacher Melissa Wolvington, fifth-grade teacher Alyssa Keyser and resource room teacher Jeri Jo Rackley. Hoffman said she is pleased that school nurse Meredith Despain will be at the elementary school full time now.

Hoffman is also pleased with interior remodeling work that has been done in the classrooms over the summer including new cabinetry, countertops and sinks. The restrooms in the old wing have been completely renovated, as well.

Two classrooms for specialists have been divided for more versatility. The speech pathology room has been divided into two so that two pathologists can work and the Title I room has been split into a Title I room and a Spanish/English Language Learning room.

A new buzz-in security vestibule is in the works for the main entrance but won’t be operational until two or three weeks after school starts, Hoffman said.

Lovell Middle School

LMS will have an orientation meeting for all students and parents Tuesday, Aug. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m., new principal Doug Hazen said. Students will be able to walk through the school, meet teachers, rent band instruments, pay school lunch accounts, check locker combinations and turn in forms for participation in athletics.

New middle school students may register on Monday, Aug. 19, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A birth certificate, immunization records and social security number are needed.

The first day of school is Thursday, Aug. 22, and school hours are 8 a.m. to 3:21 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1:18 p.m. on Friday.

LMS will host a Back to School Night for parents on Tuesday, Aug. 27, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Parents will be able to visit with teachers and learn their expectations, go over schedules and more.

“It’s important for parents to come so they know up front what’s important for their student for the rest of the year,” Hazen said. “The expectations are important to know.”

Cross-country practice begins on Monday, Aug. 19, football Wednesday and volleyball on the first day of school, Thursday.

The only physical plant work this year is a new security buzz-in system that will be installed by mid-September, Hazen said.

New teachers include Angela Sandy, sixth-grade language arts, and Daniel “Chase” Haughian, P.E. and athletic director. The new school nurse is Allison Tolman.

Lovell High School

A freshman and new student orientation will be held Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the high school gym from 10 a.m. to noon. Students will be able to meet teachers, learn about building procedures and tour facilities. Principal Scott O’Tremba said the student council will lead icebreakers and games, and Athletic Director Joe Koritnik will be on hand to talk about athletics.

The first day of school is Thursday, Aug. 22, and the bell schedule is 8 a.m. to 3:24 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1:17 p.m. on Friday.

A parent open house will be held Thursday, Aug. 29, from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. at the high school. Parents will be able to meet with teachers, following their student’s schedule, and learn about expectations for each class.

O’Tremba said he will be using a new email weekly bulletin this year to keep parents informed, and he is asking parents to get their email information back to the high school by the first day of school.

New teachers this year include Danielle Malson, math, Levi Collins, biology, and Sheri Monk, librarian. Suzanne Winterholler is the new head secretary as Denise Harrison moves to technology, and Allison Tolman is the school nurse, splitting her schedule with the middle school.

High school remodel

The school year will begin with the high school central office located in the family and consumer science classroom across the hall from the superintendent’s and business offices in the northwest wing of the school. Parents will be able to come to the office via the northwest doors, Supt. Dan Coe said. When the office portion of the high school remodel is finished around Nov. 1, the office will move back to its former location, though with plenty of changes. Until then, family and consumer science classes will be taught at the middle school, along with music classes.

Students and staff will be asked to use the northeast doors to enter the school. The main doors are currently blocked off.

Like the elementary and middle schools, the high school will eventually employ a buzz-in security system.

“It’s a proactive step in regard to the overall plan for school safety,” Coe said. “It may be a small inconvenience for people, but that’s a small price to pay to provide the best safety and security we can for the kids.”

by David Peck