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First Day of School

School year 2019-2020 officially started Aug. 15 in Madison County with both Fredericktown R-I and Marquand-Zion R-VI students returning to class.

Fredericktown Superintendent Brett Reutzel said it was a typical first day with a couple of traffic jams and computer issues, but all in all the day went well.

“It was a logistical challenge, but it always is just making sure you get everyone on the right bus and get everyone home,” Reutzel said. “We ran a little late and that kind of thing, but all and all it was just a typical first day. Then on Friday, the huge back up of traffic we had the first day was completely gone at the intermediate school.”

Marquand-Zion started off the school year with one big change, the addition of the new middle school.

“The new middle school has been something that we have been thinking about for a couple years,” Marquand-Zion Superintendent Scott Blake said. “The staff worked hard in the planning stage and the maintenance department has been working all summer to transition rooms for the new venture.”

Blake said it is such a relief to be in the implementation stage. He said the new middle school teachers will have a common plan time and be able to focus on the needs of the students.

“By taking the seventh and eighth grade students out of the high school, the teachers have additional hours to teach more core courses and increase the number of classes available for students,” Blake said. “We added a teaching position to accommodate the needs of the middle school.”

Fredericktown has seen some changes as well, mainly in the area of security. Reutzel said all buses have been equipped with cameras and, thanks to the hard work of Assistant Superintendent Shannon Henson on the COPS School Violence Prevention Program Grant, more security items like cameras and lights are being placed around the buildings.

“There will be lighting between the high school and the Ag building through there,” Reutzel said. “Thanks to the COPS grant that (Henson) wrote we are getting seven poles going down to the football field along the catwalk and all that.”

Both schools are excited to welcome a number of new staff members with Fredericktown R-I welcoming new faces throughout most of its sports programs and Marquand-Zion hiring 7 new staff members with three new positions in the district.

Reutzel said it was sad to see some of last year’s coaches move on to other districts, but it is good to see fresh faces excited to start with their new teams.

“I have been very impressed with the interactions I’ve had with the coaches so far,” Reutzel said. “They seem to be very enthusiastic and very energetic.”

A few weeks back, the two districts came together to help students within the entire county prepare for classes during the Stuff the Bus event and the Back to School Fair.

“It’s been a neat project I think this was the sixth year that we’ve done it, that I’m aware of,” Reutzel said. “I’m not sure if Marquand has been with us all six years. I think they joined the second year. It’s just kind of cool the whole county works together for the needs of our students.”

Reutzel said staff from both districts work together through the whole process and supplies are divided up based upon needs.

“Marquand-Zion had 21 percent of the students participate in the Stuff the Bus program,” Blake said. “The parents and students are so thankful for the assistance. The program allows every student to come to school with the necessary supplies and ready to learn.”

Blake said it is wonderful to see Marquand-Zion and Fredericktown working together for the students.

Both Reutzel and Blake said they are excited for the upcoming school year and are looking forward to another successful year.

Jeanna Hennrich's Fredericktown Kindergarten Class enjoys an exciting first day of school. 

Jeanna Hennrich’s Fredericktown Kindergarten Class enjoys an exciting first day of school. 

Oliver Peo eats his

Oliver Peo eats his “apple a day” as he walks to school with Aiden Peo both rocking their Mohawks.  

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at

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