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North County gets ready for the year


North County R-1 School District, along with Central R-3 School District, on Monday were the first two to open this week out of the five public schools based in St. Francois County. (Tune in for Central R-3’s “first day” article and pictures in Wednesday’s paper.)

All North County Schools held their open houses the previous week, and administrators at Thursday night’s school board meeting marveled at the increased attendance. “It helped that the weather was great,” observed Superintendent Katie Bockman at last week’s meeting. “All that nice weather is going to change next week.”

And so it did. The weather was already steamy at about 7:30 a.m. on Monday, North County Primary, on the southern edge of Bonne Terre, was humming with activity as cars jammed the parking lots and streets surrounding the buildings.

Many hugs, words of encouragement and waves goodbye were seen at North County Primary School on Monday morning, the district’s first day of the 2023-23 school year. You can see many more photos of NC Primary’s first day in the “Photos” section of our website, where you’ll see a gallery. The Daily Journal plans to feature a district’s “first day” each day this week.

A photo opp decorated one of the corners, and several kids posed in front while crouching parents snapped pictures for posterity.

And then it was the long walk up the sidewalk, parents and guardians adjusting backpacks, tightening pony tails, tying shoes, and murmuring words of encouragement to children who looked excited, ambivalent, sleepy, happy, scared, or a little tearful.

Maurice Davis, assistant principal for the Primary, said the morning was hot – the week is bringing heat indices above 100 degrees—but for the most part, everyone was keeping their cool.

“We have a lot of students to wrangle, and with pre-K and Kindergarten, it’s their very, very first day of school ever,” he said. “We have some who don’t quite understand yet that it’s OK and they’ll be fine, but they always perk up, and for the most part, everything is going very smoothly this morning.”

Two faculty members in pink T-shirts, Pre-K Paraprofessional Melissa Williams and Pre-K Teacher Pam Elliott, were official greeters for the school, encouraging students to “come on in” and hugging some little pals they hadn’t seen since last spring.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as reported by Missouri Department of Education, North County has almost 2,800 students and a student-teacher ratio of 14-1.

North County Primary is where kids get their start in Early Childhood Education programs, kindergarten, and first and second grades. Parkside educates third- and fourth-graders, who then move on to the Intermediate School for fifth and sixth grades. Middle School students in seventh and eighth grades will move on to the High School for grades 9-12.

Intermediate, Middle and Parkside are all in Desloge, while the Primary and High School are located slightly south of Bonne Terre.

This year’s scheduled breaks for the district include:

  • Thanksgiving, Nov. 22-24
  • Winter Break, Dec. 21- Jan. 3
  • Spring Break, March 25-April 1

There won’t be any school for Professional Development Sept. 1, Labor Day Sept. 4, Homecoming Afternoon (early out) Sept. 29, Oct. 13, Professional Development Oct. 27, Professional Development Nov. 6, Professional Development Jan. 3, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 15, or President’s Day Feb. 19.

The last day of school is May 17.

The complete calendar can be viewed at The district’s phone number is 573-431-3300.

Tuesday, Farmington and Bismarck school districts open, while West County’s first day is Wednesday.

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