Teachers and students greeted each other Wednesday across the Fort Dodge Community School District to begin a new school year.
“I’ve been in every building and everywhere I’ve been, the report is the same – teachers and students are excited,” said Denise Schares, acting district superintendent.
“If day one was any indication – and I believe it was – we’re set for a great school year,” she added. “There was excitement everywhere.”
Schares said she wants this school year to be one of “full normality” following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years have been disrupted in multiple ways by the pandemic and the 2021-2022 year has been one of recovery, according to Schares.
This year, she says, students and teachers will come together around the key elements of a good education. Face-to-face interaction is one such element.
“We know that isolation has been very difficult for many of our students,” Shares said.
The start of the new school year marked the return of students, teachers and staff to Cooper Elementary School, 2420 14th Ave. N. This school was closed for approximately $4 million in renovations over the 2021 Christmas vacation. Classes held there were moved to the former Riverside Elementary School/Early Learning Center, 733 F St., for the remainder of the last school year.
“We’re fully back at Cooper,” Shares said. “The spaces there are magnificent.”
The district reported a total first-day enrollment of 3,607 students.
“It seems there are stable registrations, which is good”, Shares said.