Flooded classrooms and school delays haven't dampened the spirits of Camp Verde Elementary School teachers this year. Despite poor luck just a days before school was scheduled to start, this group of educators pulled together and made things happen without delay.
A storm damaged the Camp Verde Elementary School, delaying the start date from Aug. 16 to Aug. 21, and forcing teachers and students to improvise until repairs are complete.
"It was incredible that we pulled it off," said Principal Julie Hibbard. "We even had a smooth first day. People from different companies that were helping to clean up the school commented on how positive and friendly the teachers were in cleaning things up. We have had to scramble to find places for everybody. We started moving things on Wednesday and worked through the weekend to open school on Monday."
Even with repairs, eight classrooms were unusable by the first day of school. Hibbard said that the gifted class was moved to the choir room, two fifth-grade classes were relocated to the middle school and a wall was knocked out of the counselor's office to create a third fifth-grade classroom. A portable trailer was moved in to house the counselors.
"We had to knock the wall out and create a classroom at the end of the day on Thursday," Hibbard said. "I asked if anybody on campus wanted to help and everybody showed up — we then moved everything."
Teaching supplies, normally delivered throughout the summer to teachers, classrooms were stored in the warehouse and gymnasium. Physical Education teacher Lorraine Prinsze dedicated her time distributing the new products in a matter of days. Hibbard, laughing, said Prinsze did such a good job at it that she wanted to give her a letter of recommendation as a warehouse supervisor.
The classrooms, although not yet put back together in the original condition to include carpeting, received a new type of interior decorator's touch. Teachers, faced with plain, gray cement floors, got creative in preparing their rooms. Hand-painted apples, designs, animal tracks and footprints in a multitude of colors, now enliven each class. Some teachers feel it even looks better than the old carpeting. Only problem, the floors are difficult to endure for any length of time.
"Many of our teachers are wearing tennis shoes to teach in because the floors are so hard," Hibbard said. "They were each given a 10-x-12 area rug for any floor projects like group reading. The rest of the room is cement."
Teacher Max Wennet said the idea to paint his floor came from another teacher. It looked so good, the idea caught on and everyone else followed suit.
Superintendent Marilyn Semones is asking insurance companies not to completely restore the classrooms because the school will be condemned this year upon the completion of the new elementary school. Her hope is that the money saved can be applied to the new building. As for now, teachers can enjoy the freedom of doing things their way.
Staff photos by Pamela Williams
Camp Verde Elementary School teachers have gotten creative with their classrooms because recent storm damage left each room without carpeting. Pictured is Mrs. Roberts' classroom with apples painted on the floor. Mr. Wennet's kindergarten class is colorful as well with a variety of designs painted on the floor including a zebra striped corner. Teachers had five days to prepare their classrooms which included the weekend in efforts to be ready for students Monday morning.