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Rugby schools open Aug. 23
August 18, 2017

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Rugby Public School District

The school season starts again on Wednesday, August 23 at 8:40 a.m.

Enrollment numbers are up at Ely Elementary, with approximately 315 students registered for the upcoming year.

Two new employees will join the Ely staff, including Jessica Bosch (Special Education) and Chelbie Bohl (Title 1 Aide). Ely will also welcome Kayla Voeller as a student teacher in Mrs. Gault's third grade classroom.

Also new to Ely are renovated bathrooms, which Principal Jason Gullickson is very excited about. "It may not sound like a lot, but in my little world, it's pretty exciting," he said about the updated bathrooms. "[We have] strong enrollment numbers, and the building is in very, very good shape. I'm just looking forward to a good year."

Open House will be held Monday, August 21 for kindergarten from 5-7 p.m. and for 1st Grade from 6-7:30 p.m. All other grades are welcome and encouraged to make appointments to visit with Principal Gullickson and/or teachers.

Enrollment is also up at Rugby High School by about 10-12 students from last year, with an approximate 270 students registered for this year.

Two new teachers at RHS are Dan and Ashley Seykora from Towner, who will teach junior high Math and junior high English, respectively.

"I'm really looking forward to meeting all the new Panthers, and I'm really excited about [the Seykoras] joining us and bringing their skill sets," said Principal Jared Blikre.

Other staff changes include Beau Eriksson and Travis Risovi as co-head coaches for football and Stephanie Skeen taking over the Mass Media class that was introduced last semester.

Two new agriculture classes will be offered this year, taught by Ag. Education teacher Kasey Okke.

Even more Chromebooks than last year have been added to classrooms at the high school, providing Chromebooks and/or some other kind of technology in almost all classrooms.

"I'm just excited to get the kids back. I really like getting to know all of them and watching them grow and mature. We want all of them to get involved, try something new, and challenge themselves," Blikre said.

Something coming to both Ely and RHS is the RPS mobile app, available on both Android and iPhone smartphones. The app was developed after feedback from last year's AdvancED survey reported a low communication score between the schools and families, according to Superintendent Mike McNeff.

The app, available now to download, can be set up to receive notifications from both schools or one or the other. Push notifications on the app will include special events, such as weather closures. It will also stay updated with news in the district, including blog posts from Dr. McNeff and other social media highlights pertaining to the schools. Parents will be able to find the school and activity calendars and supply lists on the app, as well as have access to PowerSchool.

Grab-n-Go Breakfast will be made available in the district soon, with quick and easy options available for those students who are rushing to class but still hungry.

As the district gets ready for its next accreditation visit next year, the focus is on maintaining and improving on what has already been done in the past six years, according to McNeff.

The district is looking to continue improving engagement, creating more individual and professional opportunities for teachers, and recruiting and retaining staff members. Teacher collaborations on Wednesday mornings will continue throughout this year, with student late-starts beginning at 9 a.m.

There will be more focus on grading this year in terms of researching and reporting on how the district grades in relation to behavior and separating the two.

To help with this endeavor, a new program to the district, Alternative Classroom, has been set up to focus on the whole child. Different therapies will be offered through this program, including OTPT and Child/Adolescent Family Therapy.

Alternative Classroom will be held in the Armory, which has been renovated to house the program, and will feature a personalized, smaller class size, which will also focus on the social and emotional aspects to learning.

The program will be offered to students who need additional support. "It's another step and opportunity for parents who haven't had those services available before in Rugby," McNeff said. "It's an area that needs more focus in future education, meeting needs in all areas, not just academic."

Mrs. Bosch, Special Education, will run Alternative Classroom. Lone Tree Special Education staff will also be based there.

"Like any year, we want to get everybody back into the building. It's nice to get started again continuing our work to improve as a district. I'm looking forward to another great year, working with our stakeholders and running our district," McNeff said.

Little Flower School

Little Flower Catholic Elementary School's academic year also kicks off on Wednesday, August 23.

One new teacher will be joining the staff this year, Kim Anderson, who will be teaching third and fourth grade.

Enrollment numbers are about the same as they have been for the past few years, according to Principal Jorgen Knutson.

Introduced into Little Flower's curriculum this year will be a new religion program, called Alive in Christ, as well as a new discipline program by Boys Town Training. Area schools will be invited to an assembly with a guest speaker who will give a presentation on the discipline program on September 25.

The cafeteria is being refurbished at Little Flower, which will see updated walls and flooring.

To kick off the year, the PTO hosted a movie night this past Thursday. The featured movie was "Sing" and popcorn, candy and pop was made available.

"I'm looking forward to a great year," Knutson said.

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