Education

QPS starts year with new leaders, schools

Daenerys Koppleman, 5, registers for Kindergarten with her mom, Charmaine Kopplman at Baldwin Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. Quincy Public Schools start on August 15. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
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By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 5, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools kicks off the 2019-20 year with several new leaders and two new schools.

The Thomas S. Baldwin and Sarah Atwater Denman Elementary Schools open for K-5 students on Aug. 15, the first day of classes.

"We'll have everything ready to go when the kids arrive," Superintendent Roy Webb said. "Along with enjoying the new schools, understand there may be one or two glitches. We do everything we can to make everything run real smooth, but we've learned over the last couple years there's always a couple things we haven't thought about."

QPS opened the new Lincoln-Douglas Elementary School for K-3 in 2017-18, then shifted that building to K-5 in 2018-19 while opening Col. George J. Iles and Dr. Abby Fox Rooney Elementary Schools.

Webb credited the "true heroes" in the transition process -- the district's maintenance and custodial staff who helped ready the buildings and shift staff members and district staff and administrators who packed and unpacked classrooms and other spaces, often more than once, to prepare for students.

With the last major transition into the final two new schools, Webb said things will "really settle down" in the district.

"Teachers, principals and teams are in place now at all the schools from early childhood to the high school," he said. "All of them have been through somewhat of a transition the last few years, so it will be good to have everybody in place and really start to dive into curriculum and instruction and doing what we do best -- taking care of kids and their education."

Overseeing that process will be some new leaders for the 19-20 year including Iles Principal Brad Funkenbusch, formerly a school administration manager at Lincoln-Douglas and principal at the shuttered Dewey School; Todd Pettit as co-director of the district's music program; Sara Cramer, previously a SAM at Baldwin and principal at the shuttered Washington School, as co-director at the Early Childhood and Family Center; and Quincy Area Vocational Technical Center Director Evie Morrison, who taught math for 18 years at Quincy High School.

While Baldwin and Denman are the biggest changes for the new school year, several health life safety projects mean updates to Quincy Junior High School and QHS.

"We had 15 or 16 projects this summer along with the two brand-new schools," Webb said. "We did a lot at the junior high, and a couple of projects will be continuing into the fall."

Graphics on the new gym floor, which is in place and sealed, should be finished by Sept. 1, and work on the renovated girls locker room "may slide into the beginning of school," Webb said. New curtains and an acoustical shell for Morrison Theater should be in place by the first week of October.

Work on the new Flinn Stadium track will wrap up in mid- to late-September, but "we're working with the contractor to make sure our football and soccer and band can still get on the field when they need to this fall," Webb said. Construction also continues on a new donated weight room/locker room/video room/storage facility at Flinn spearheaded by a group of QHS football boosters.

Some punch list items still will need to be completed at Baldwin and Denman, but "the schools will be safe and will be operational when kids arrive on Aug. 15," Webb said.

Webb said the community should be proud of all the new schools.

"It was just in 2014 when they passed the $89 million referendum, so in a short amount of time, they get to see the fruits of their decision -- the high school renovated and the five new schools built," he said. "The oldest elementary school in the district will be two years old. Sit back and take great pride, but have high expectations for what QPS can do."