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Students at West County head back to school

When West County students enter school Thursday morning, they will find building improvements at the middle and high schools, and a new program in the elementary school.

Except for one new teacher, staff remains the same, Superintendent Stacy Stevens said. Chris Stroup has been hired as a special services teacher. He replaces Tamara Bretz, who was hired by another school district.

“We haven’t had much turnover the last several years,” Stevens said. “We’re pleased with the job they do and we hope it means they enjoy working here and enjoy our students.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will participate in a new program called positive behavior support, Instructional Coach Laura Basler said.

“We want to teach social skills to our students, just like we teach them academics,” Basler explained. “The teachers will incorporate new lesson plans that will teach students how to be good citizens.”

The elementary school also plans a health fair Sept. 25. Last year’s fair was successful and drew more than 300 people. The second annual event is scheduled in response to requests for another health fair, Basler said.

“This year’s theme is ‘Feeling Fine in 2009,’” she added. “So far, more than 30 vendors plan to attend.”

Middle school students will notice a change as soon as they see the front of the building. In partnership with the city of Leadwood, the school district has a new sidewalk in front of the building.

“We also have a new roof and the gymnasium floor has been sanded, restriped and repainted,” Coffman said.

The school was one of 10 recipients of a national Lowe’s grant, which gave it more than $100,000 to create a new home economics area and a new library.

The high school is completing a new softball field and physical education area. Stevens said it will be the first time high school students will have a place for outdoor P.E. classes.

The new concession stand is nearly completed and just needs siding, Principal Eric Moyers said. There are bleachers still to be installed at the softball field and a few other final touches must be completed during the year. The district expects that project will be complete before spring.

On Tuesday, teachers and staff were busy getting everything in place for Thursday’s opening.

“We’re gearing up and getting ready for another year,” Moyers said.

Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at


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