As school starts back this week, many teachers in Jackson County are getting ready to welcome several new faces to their classrooms. After Paint Rock Valley School closed its doors in May, Skyline and Woodville Schools will be gaining some new students on Thursday. WAAY 31 talked to teachers and parents about the transfer and learned what their biggest concerns are.
“I always love having new kids come in," said Deanna West. "I’m hoping to see a great big smile on their face.” West is a fifth grade teacher at Woodville School and says she’s excited to welcome students from Paint Rock Valley after their school closed down in May. “We’re really going to have to make them feel welcome," West said. "Making sure they feel safe and loved—that’s important.”
And speaking of safety, West says, while Jackson County Schools may only have two school resource officers, teachers at Woodville always act as if they’re paid to protect. “If someone came in my room, I would be the first one to go," she said. One parent of a former Paint Rock Valley student says she’s already noticed that. “I believe if someone came in with a gun, they would be willing to jump in front of the gun to protect their students," said Amy Frazier.
The main concern for many parents and teachers is the larger class sizes. “I had 29 last year. So, going from 29 to 50 is a pretty big jump," West said. "One of my concerns is working with each child one-to-one, but I’m going to try and make time to fit it all in.”
No matter the number of students, parents and teachers alike say they just want the new students to feel at home. “I hope they feel welcome. I hope they feel loved. I hope they feel like they’re part of the family," said Frazier. "I’m not nervous at all about having new students," added West. "Every child, to me, is a joy."
School officials tell us about 25 students and three teachers from Paint Rock Valley School will be starting at Woodville on Thursday.