First day jitters gone as school resumes

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cassville opened doors last week for 1,921 students

Students eagerly joined their teachers in classrooms last week, and the 2019-2020 school year started up in full swing.

Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent, said last year, the district saw an increase of 115 students from the year before with 1,928 students preschool-twelfth graders.

“We count the numbers of students daily for at least the first couple of weeks,” he said. “We have this year, preschool through twelfth grade, 1,921 students, and we have 78 students in preschool, which would make it 1,843 kindergarten through twelfth grade.”

Asbill said the district is very similar to the numbers from last year at this time.

“It looks like our biggest class right now is our sophomore class with 163 students, and the second largest is seventh grade at 155 students,” he said. “Our smallest class this year is our seniors, and that has been a small class throughout, with numbers at 118 students this year.”

Asbill said the sophomore class is consistent with being the largest this year, as the freshman class last year was at 170 students.

“On the first day, we are always excited to have the parents and grandparents helping the children back to school,” he said. “There were a few tears and a few smiles all mixed up in that day, we are always excited to see everyone.”

Asbill said traffic is always a concern in the first week or two of school, with everyone getting into the routine of when to drop off and how to drop off at the right time for breakfast.

“Eventually, all of the routines work out for families,” he said. “Some really positive things include the staff really focusing on making sure the first opportunity that students come through the door they are greeted with a happy face. ‘Welcome to Cassville’ is one of the themes that is occurring in each building, and we are excited about that.”

Asbill said there is a fairly high mobility rate in all of the Barry County schools.

“Sometimes we have students that move within the first few weeks of school, but they still same in the area of Barry County,” he said.

“There is kind of a trade of students depending on the time of year. We anticipate that those numbers will adjust in the next couple of weeks as soon as summer ends and people relocate and settle in for the fall season.”

Asbill said the district welcomed 12 new teachers to Cassville this year.

“We have added new positions in a couple of different areas, a process coordinator, some reading interventionists at the middle school and a special education position,” he said.

Asbill said additionally, there are three new teachers at the high school with Spanish and two math positions.

“We have three new teachers in the middle school,” he said. “And in the intermediate building there are five new teachers.”

Asbill said that is four new positions for the district, which is exciting with the eight new faculty members added last year.

“We had some retirements and some relocations that took some people away,” he said. “But, we are really happy with our new group of employees and what they bring to the district.”

Asbill said the district is really excited about the new Jobs for American Graduates (JAG) program that is at the high school.

“That is a new program for us,” he said. “They are scheduled to present at the September board meeting about the program and what they will be doing.”

Asbill said Governor Parsons and his wife are huge advocates of the JAG program.

“It is a career education and development type program for students that bridges the opportunities of teaching students career choices and decisions, as well as, giving them some explorations and internships within different job areas,” he said. “It also allows us to accommodate some students that would like a little bit of a non-traditional path to graduation with the JAG program.”

Asbill said the campus is really excited campus wide with the new look and additions to the building.

“Parents as well s teachers were really excited about the first and second grade classrooms improvements,” he said. “The teachers and students were pleased with the way the classrooms have brightened up and that they are more organized with more space as well.”

Asbill said the intercom and security system have been going in well, and that is an enhanced opportunity for the district to keep students and staff safe.

“The concession stand project is completed, and we will have that football Friday conversations on Aug. 30,” he said. “We are glad to host our chamber members for that and let them see everything that we have going on.”

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