QPS teachers packing up for move to new Baldwin, Denman schools

Brittany Bleichner, a third grade teacher at Denman Elementary School, packs up her classroom's books and supplies after class on Wednesday, May. 15, 2019. Bleichner, along with the rest of the school, will move to the new Denman building at the end of the school year in June. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 22, 2019 7:30 am Updated: May. 22, 2019 8:38 am

QUINCY -- The boxes are stacking up in Taylor Carlson's classroom.

"I started packing a couple of weeks ago. Most of my cabinets are packed, and I took down some things off the wall," said Carlson, a Denman fifth-grade teacher. "I don't want that stress on my kids, but they are taking it really well. They're making that transition to junior high, so it's just another transition for them and for me."

Baldwin and Denman teachers -- split this year between the former Ellington, Madison, Adams and Berrian buildings -- are packing up again to move into the new schools slated to open in August.

"Everyone is packing and still trying to teach," Denman Principal Chrissy Cox said. "The teachers are kind of like 'here we go again,' so they're kind of getting proficient at packing, but we are happy that it's going to be over soon and get into that new building."

Carlson, who was at Berrian School last year, shifted to Adams for the 2018-19 school year and changed from third grade to fifth grade.

"I just have been getting better and better at packing," Carlson said. "All my boxes are labeled with subject and contents."

Everything needs to be packed and ready to move by June 9, Cox said, which gives teachers a handful of days after classes end June 5 to finish any packing.

Plans call for the district to move boxes, teacher equipment and technology into Baldwin on June 10 and Denman on June 17. New furniture arrives June 17 at Baldwin and June 24 at Denman.

Teachers should have access to the building and be able to start unpacking on July 8 at Baldwin and July 15 at Denman.

Denman fourth grade co-teachers Katie Crawford and Mark Schlepphorst haven't started to pack.

"We're still pretty deep in our instruction, and we feel like packing too soon starts to give the impression that learning isn't happening anymore," Crawford said.

Before classes end, though, she expects to have the students helping to sort, organize and pack up the room.

After packing to move from Berrian to Adams, "I have a better idea how I want to do it so that way unpacking is easier," Crawford said. "We also were combining a lot of materials last year, figuring out what he needed to keep, what I needed to keep and figuring out what to do with all our stuff. Now we have systems kind of in place, and we're staying as a team together next year, so the beginning of next year should be more efficient."

Kindergarten teacher Pam Havermale knows what she wants to take to her new classroom. She hasn't started to pack, but she can draw on her experience of moving last summer from Adams to Berrian.

"I kind of know how I'm going to pack up this year. I really don't like to do it until the kids are gone. I don't want the kids to feel like I'm pushing them out the door," she said.

Instead, she'll pack a lot in a little time after classes end.

"I'm lucky I have a big family. They come and help," Havermale said.

Fellow kindergarten teacher Beth Kniel was one of the few teachers who didn't move classrooms last summer. She's been busy sorting through cabinets and boxes, trying to organize and purge for the move, while keeping her classroom as "normal" as possible for her students.

She's been at Berrian since it reopened in 1999 and in her same classroom four years.

"Leaving this space and the neighborhood is kind of bittersweet, but it's exciting too. Our kids are just going to have so many opportunities," Kniel said. "Having been split between two buildings, it's very exciting to think about being together. The same four teachers that are here now will all be teaching (kindergarten). We have been able to tar thinking about next year. We're not only thinking about our own rooms but about community space, how to use the space in the middle of the pod."

Finished packing ahead of everybody else was Denman fifth-grade teacher Brittany Moore, who started maternity leave on Friday.

"I've been packing for about the past month," she said. "My kids can help me pack. Being nine months pregnant, I can't lift heavy boxes or move boxes."