1,905 enrolled at Cassville

Lunch boxes were packed and pencils were sharpened for the first day of school in Cassville on Aug. 22.

Merlyn Johnson, Cassville superintendent, said the school welcomed 1,905 students on the first day, district-wide.

This represents a decrease of 11 students from last year’s first day figures.

According to Johnson, the largest class was 11th grade with 167 students, and the smallest was second grade with 120 students.

“These numbers were expected,” he said. “The initial focus during the early days of the school year is centered on extending a warm and inclusive welcome to all our students following the summer break, while also facilitating their smooth transition back into the academic learning environment.”

Johnson said the primary building, pre-K to second grade, saw 460 students; the intermediate, third to fifth grade, saw 396 students; the middle school, sixth to eighth grade, had 405 students; and high school, grades 9-12, had 644 students.

“Forty-nine of these [high school] students are non-seated virtual,” Johnson said. “All numbers were expected.

“We strive to make very minimal changes to our bus routes. We have route numbers and not bus numbers so when we move buses around, we change the number to correspond with the route number.”

Johnson said this has cut down on a lot of confusion with students and parents, as well as teachers, getting the little ones on the buses.

“The first couple of days always have a few small hiccups,” he said. “It is very busy sorting out 1,100 students on 19 routes. New students and new stops are always a challenge in regard to finding their houses and pickup and drop-off times. We really appreciate our drivers for the excellent jobs they do putting the safety of our students first and their patience with adding new stops and finding where each student belongs. We give our drivers all the credit for a good start to a great year.”

In addition, Johnson said Cassville welcomed 18 new teachers and a Primary/Intermediate Assistant Principal for the 2023-2024 school year. Four joined the primary, five joined the intermediate, five joined the middle and four joined the high school.

“Additional support staff were hired, which included custodial, special education/ELL aides, food service and bus drivers,” he said.

In terms of new programs and classes, Johnson said new to the middle school is a a Publications and Computer Concepts class were added for 2 hours per day for seventh and eighth graders, along with a full time Ag. teacher “The high school added a computer science program offering Intro to Computer Science, Computer Science 1, and Advanced Placement Computer Science,” he said. “An additional cooking class, Foods of the World, was added to the Family and Consumer Science program.

“High school is also offering an AP Literature class, in person Spanish class and a Woods program.”

Johnson said a new club at the high school, Senior Beta Club, was also added.

“We are excited about the enhanced learning opportunities and educational programs that our schools will be offering for the first time this school year,” he said. “Our high school students now have the opportunity to enroll in Computer Science courses, taught by a highly qualified teacher. Additionally, students in middle school and high school now have the opportunity to become members of the Beta Club, a program that promotes leadership, academic excellence and service learning.”

Johnson said this club was successfully introduced at the intermediate school last year.

“The completion of playground projects at the primary and intermediate schools has generated excitement among both students and staff within these buildings,” Johnson said. “Comprehensive safety enhancements and updated safety protocols have been implemented across all our campuses, significantly enhancing security measures.

“We are especially thrilled about the recently commenced construction surrounding the future performing arts center at the high school, which stands as a highlight of the upcoming school year.”