Red Wing schools filled with students heading back to classes this week.
The elementary, middle and high school students all were back to school in person this year. However, one school that experienced some change is Twin Bluff Middle School.
After two years of hosting elementary school students, the school is back to a full middle school. The switch back to the normal middle school structure has gone smoothly so far.
“This first morning was fantastic, our staff was ready and the students seemed genuinely excited to be back in the building. We are spending some quality time taking each class through the building and discussing safety, expectations and routines,” Twin Bluff Middle School principal Patrick Beierman said.
“We have the opportunity to begin on a positive note and ensure all students are aware and engaged in their learning,” he continued.
Twin Bluffs organized their classes differently during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate social distancing.
This year Twin Bluff Middle school will have fifth through seventh grade students. The high school will host eighth through 12th grade students.
“The middle school model works well because it creates a safe and smooth transition from the elementary level to the high school level. Our students are developing individually at their own pace, and our staff is aware and supportive of their unique individual needs,” Beierman said.
“We are a true community of learners that values what each person, student and staff, brings to the table. We meet the students where they are and help them to grow and reach their full potential in a safe and nurturing environment,” he continued.
Returning to the original model this year was decided among administrators who believed that because the COVID-19 case numbers have decreased significantly they could allow the old model to return safely.
The Red Wing School District welcomes around 2,500 students into the schools each year ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade.
While the first day back to school is an exciting time for everyone, it can also be a stressful time for students and teachers alike.
“What makes us most proud is how we support all students as they navigate their path toward more independence and develop into respectful, responsible, and productive citizens,” Beierman said.
The first day back provides the administrators with some feedback and insight into how they can continue to make each day a positive experience for students.
“I appreciated the safe and patient way parents navigated the student drop-off this morning. We look forward to making the drop-off experience even smoother as we work together to ensure student safety,” Beierman said.
Interim Superintendent Frank Norton is going into this year eager to build connections and relationships with students and staff.
The first day of school Norton was able to visit each of the schools and observe.
“What I have felt today throughout the schools is the excitement and the energy that comes when you get the students and the teachers back into the building,” he said.
“So far in this position I have been managing the preparations for the kids and now I’m looking forward to seeing the interactions between the teachers and the kids. Today the kids really seemed energized and like they want to be here in the schools and that there is a fresh start this year,” he continued.
Leading up to the first day there were many pieces that needed to come together before welcoming students back to school. Everything came together quickly during the time between Norton’s starting date and today.
There were several teachers and staff members hired and the preparations in getting the elementary and middle school layouts took some hard work and dedication.
“It was a lot of hard work. We had to shift from the years that we were in the pandemic when we had three elementary schools running. There was a lot of transition getting things ready,” Norton said.
“Another significant piece was getting staffing, there are 30 staff members that are new to the district and that also takes a lot of preparation,” he continued.
The first day was a success throughout the schools in Red Wing and teachers and administrators are looking forward to a great year.