August 26, 2019

The start of the school year has been relatively smooth considering we have been working around a myriad of construction scenarios since the arrival of our students. Many of our extracurricular activities are preparing to start their seasons and activities as we head into the fall schedule. Our first home football game is this Friday vs. Salem. I hope to see many of you at the annual tailgate party prior to the football game. As is customary, the St. James R-I Board of Education will be serving all community members hotdogs, hamburgers, sides, and drinks starting at 5pm. They will continue serving until the start of the game at 7pm. We are fortunate to have many donors who help support this joyous occasion. Also, we continue to be grateful for all the St. James Sports Club members and volunteers who support the school by cooking for the community on this day. We are so fortunate to have such an outstanding group of community members who harmoniously work together to make the tailgate party a memorable and enjoyable event for all who attend. Tables and seating will be available in the Catholic Church parking lot for those who want to relax. For many, the tailgate party and first home football game signifies the actual beginning of the school year. This game is the first large community event of the school year. It is at this annual event when patrons reconnect with many familiar faces. Additionally, we begin to see new faces and develop new relationships, which gives each school year its own unique identity. I look forward to this evening as we discover our new 2019-2020 identity! 

As mentioned in last week’s paper, we are also preparing to temporarily move our bus loading and unloading locations starting next Tuesday, September 3. In an effort to expedite work on the new bus lane behind the elementary and simultaneously work on the foundation of the new early childhood building, construction workers are needing to take possession of our present bus lane. In order to accommodate this need, the district and Copeland Bus Services have coordinated a plan to make these necessary modifications. 

The morning drop-off will be the same for high school students and different for elementary students. Elementary students will be dropped-off on Scioto Street between central office and the vo-ag building. District staff, School Resource Officers and approved volunteers will guide elementary students along a structured interim path into the back of the elementary school. 

After school bus loading will be different for both high school and elementary students. The loading area will be moved to Seymour Street in front of the present High School entrance. High School students who ride the bus will exit the main entrance and go directly to their bus. Students picked-up by parent/guardian and student drivers will exit through the cafeteria. Students who are being picked-up by parents/guardians may want to make arrangements to be picked-up in another location such as South Parker Street or Seymour Street north of the high school to avoid traffic congestion. Vehicles will not be allowed to turn down Seymour in front of the high school from 2:30-3:15. Additionally, Scioto Street will be shut down near the central office parking lot each day from 2:30-3:15. 

Points of emphasis for the temporary loading/unloading change:

  • In the afternoon, students will have a slight delay in arriving home
  • The District is taking extra precautions to keep all students safe during this modification 
  • All volunteers will be pre-approved through the District’s volunteer program before helping
  • Due to the added time to and from buses, parents may want to provide a raincoat when forecasts call for rain 
  • Parents can help by dropping off and picking up their children during this time

We are hopeful the new bus lane will be completed by the end of October. Once completed, buses will begin to load/unload on the new lane which will be located near our present loading/unloading area. We are thankful to all of the volunteers throughout the community who have already committed to help the district during this temporary change. If you are interested in volunteering your help during this time, please contact me by phone at 573-265-2300 or email at mj@stjschools.org.