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Waco students adjusting to new school after devastating fire earlier this year

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:37 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Waco ISD students headed back to the classroom Monday morning, and some students started classes in new buildings.

After a major fire devastated G. W. Carver Middle School last month, those students returned to learn at Indian Spring Middle School.

Dr. Isaac Carrier, principal of G. W. Carver, said the school is ready for students to come back, but patience is necessary during the first few days.

Dr. Carrier said there are more school buses this year, and they will drop students off on what they’re calling the river side of the school, along University Parks.

There will also be a space at the end of the parking lot for students who are being dropped off.

Dr. Carrier said there are signs for parents to tell them where to go, but they should still leave some extra time to get to school and get through the drop-off line.

“We don’t know fully just yet what the traffic is going to look like. So, we will have additional police staff outside, helping direct traffic,” Dr. Carrier said. “With the increased number of students that are going to be dropped off, we just need to be patient.”

Dr. Carrier said they are asking Carver students to not walk or ride bikes from the east side of town. He said it is not safe for students to do so. There will be additional bus stops Carver students can walk or ride their bikes to.

If there are any issues getting to school, Dr. Carrier said to contact the district and the school will work with transportation to make sure students have a safe option.

While there are changes outside, there are also changes inside. Dr. Carrier said the schools are taking extra steps to make sure all students feel at home.

On Monday, sixth graders started their day with some extra orientation, and additional counselors will be on hand in case students need to talk.

Dr. Carrier said students will spend the first full week of school doing team building activities to help get to know each other. While it will be Carver and Indian Spring students in the building, Dr. Carrier said they’re one school.

“It’s going to be an ongoing process,” Dr. Carver said. “But to initiate that process, we’re going to be very intentional to take some specific actions, to help them get to know one another.”

Dr. Carrier said they are combining students and teachers in the classrooms. He said logistically, that worked best considering the space in the building, but it will also benefit students.

G.W. Carver Middle School was the first school in the district to close due to COVID-19 cases, and Dr. Carrier said there was essentially six weeks of instruction where students were completely remote.

Dr. Carrier said the know teachers will be dealing with the COVID slide and the summer slide, but because there are two teachers in each classroom, they are better equipped to meet students where they are.

“Taking into account the specific needs of each individual student we have a better chance of making sure that we’re reaching every student at their individual learning level,” Dr. Carrier said. “We have the enhanced ability to now truly collaborate in the planning phase.”

He added the district brought in specialized professional development for the teachers, and they plan to continue the support throughout the year.

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