Education

QPS teachers move into new classrooms

Linda Douglas, left, and Kim Mast get some help Monday from Mast’s son Reed to unpack boxes in their Reading Recovery/intervention space at the new Iles Elementary School. Teachers could start moving into classrooms Monday.
H-W Photo/Deborah Gertz Husar
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 10, 2018 8:00 am Updated: Jul. 10, 2018 8:12 am

QUINCY -- Ready to start unpacking boxes in an intervention room at the brand-new Iles Elementary School, teachers Linda Douglas and Kim Mast needed only one thing.

Scissors.

"I have them," Mast promised. "I just have to find the right box."

Mast handed over the scissors to her 10-year-old son, Reed, who set to work opening boxes while Mast and Douglas unpacked books and made quick work of filling shelves Monday, the first day Quincy Public Schools teachers were allowed into classrooms this summer.

Getting the Reading Recovery/intervention space organized as early as possible was important to Douglas, whose third child is due in five weeks.

"I want this set up before I'm home with the baby," she said.

Nearly every Quincy elementary teacher is changing classrooms or buildings for the 2018-19 school year, and excitement levels were highest at Iles and Rooney, which open to students in August.

"It's a little overwhelming," Douglas said. "I moved from Washington, the only school I ever worked at, so this is a big move."

Mast, who shifted from Dewey School, said the "newness" is exciting.

"The packing was harder than the unpacking. You have to clean out and get rid of (stuff,)" she said.

"This is the good stuff that we brought," Douglas said.

"My only concern is, will everything fit?" Mast said. "We have less furniture over here."

Over at Rooney, first-grade teacher Kim Johannes started work to empty 112 boxes delivered to her classroom.

"Everything was in the middle of my room," Johannes said. "I kind of situated everything to where I think I might be using it."

But she already was beginning to question where she had placed some bookshelves near where students will hang their coats.

"I'm afraid they're taking up too much space, but I like this separated to give it some dimension," she said.

Johannes expects to spend the rest of the summer getting her classroom ready for the school year, and so does fellow teacher Connie Haschemeyer, who has 139 boxes to unpack. "Sometimes you have to step away from it for a little bit," Johannes said.

"We'll set up our rooms, then purge what we don't need," fellow teacher Jodi Whitfield said.

Rooney Principal Melanie Schrand was happy to have staff in the building.

"Enthusiasm is bubbling over in the hallways already," Schrand said. "It's making it real. They start visualizing kids that are in here, and teachers already say they can't wait to see the kids' faces."

Back at Iles, Kim Humphry was busy helping his wife, Kathy, a second-grade teacher, set up her classroom.

"I told her just take it a day at a time," he said. "What we did this morning was arrange the tables, but how we have it today may not be how she has it. It depends on how many students she has."

Amy Valeu plans to spend a couple of days a week working in her room this month and more time as the start of school gets closer.

"You have to have time to kind of think where would be a good spot for this, what can I do in this corner to use the space in the best way," Valeu said.

"It's exciting. I just almost had goose bumps walking in the hallway thinking about how we're making history in this beautiful building. I'm also really thankful for all the hard work the maintenance department (did) to get my things here. They did an awesome job. I didn't have to worry about moving anything."

She just has to worry about unpacking her 96 boxes, but fellow teacher Camilla Ferrel planned to make quick work of her 110 boxes.

"My goal is just to get rid of my boxes. I'm not going to organize it, just get it all out of boxes," Ferrel said. "Everything has gone really well. I have my smartboard and what it takes for me to operate that. I think I'll have everything I need on Day One. That's a great feeling."

By August, Ferrel wants to have her room ready so she can focus on students and their families.

"Because we had time to get ourselves organized, we can help (parents) feel a lot more comfortable and at ease sending students to a new school," she said. "At Dewey, our kids were neighborhood kids, used to being really close to school. This will seem far away for many families. It's not, but it will seem that way. My goal is to help them feel as much at home with their kids here as at Dewey."

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