Students Back Home in New Joplin Schools - KOAM TV 7

Students Back Home in New Joplin Schools


 It took two and half years and three snow days  but Joplin students displaced by the May 2011 tornado are back in new schools today. 
  Irving elementary, Soaring Heights elementary, and East Middle School opened today for the first time. 
    For teachers and students its time to come home.
Mouths opened wide as Whitney Benfield's first graders looked at  their new classroom.
Some jumped with joy others, gave hugs to their teacher.  Benfield says, "To be back together, finally be home and all be back together is  just incredible."

5th grader Kelsi Powell says,"My favorite thing about this school is my classroom. I love my classroom 
 cause its a lot bigger than my last one was and we  wont be as crammed." 

Cora Wesley's favorite feature, " Probably the library. Its huge and has the computer lab built right into it, its really cool."

The new Irving features common areas called neighborhoods with themes from outer  space to a garden.

Whitney Benfield says, "Its huge, its colorful, its  a space that's designed for kids and for learning. Its beautiful."

At Soaring Heights there is furniture that's a  fun alternative to desks. 
First grade teacher Kathryn Johnson says, "Little kids need to  get up and move around and instead of being confined to classroom, they can come  to this area  and do all kinds of activities."

Johnson, who was teaching in a temporary modular unit is embracing the creative new space. She showed us a teaching, presentation nook called  the eagles nest.

At East Middle school there are also  neighborhoods including what is called the  living room where students start the day and  then  teachers  choose a  classroom based on their curriculum. Teacher Nina English says, "Best practices say we integrate our curriculums together and we're  trying to make  as many connections as possible.  That flexible space just allows us to do that so much easier."

8th grader Shyla Allender is a fan of the new school. She says, "All of the room and the pictures everything really especially compared to warehouse, its amazing!" 

From the middle school to the elementaries the 21st century schools include  images and pieces  of the past that  for some means closure.
The old Irving cornerstone and a stone door topper bearing the school's name adorn a wall. 

Benfield says, "Its kind of a sentimental thing, a  memento of that past and  when we first  saw it was like, oh its here.  Its still  a part of us."

Irving's principal Nila Vance says while this is another change for students who have moved schools several times already, its one they are excited about. 

Cora Wesley says, " We're all ok.  We're finished moving.  This is Irving."
And 5th grader Michael Huddleston says, "Its like like  the light at the end of the tunnel. You've made it!

Besides more space and added feature to all the news schools are tornado safe rooms. 



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