It seems like school just started, but students in the Van Buren school district are already gearing up for first quarter midterms. The district is one of the lucky ones when it comes to weather, and didn't have to close during the hot August days like many other districts in the area.
The district has since gotten off to a great start, with six new staff members, and the changes don't stop there.
"We have a couple of programs that are new that we believe are working well, that are off to a great start," said Van Buren Superintendent Lisa Beames. "One would be at the secondary level, we have guided studies and the guided studies program is intended for students who are missing homework or not performing as well as we would like them to perform in the classrooms. So if you're not having those issues, you're released at 3:05 and 3:10 and if you are, you're invited to stay until the buses leave or 3:30 to help make up that work. Midterms will be out this week so we'll see what kind of initial effect that's having."
The other new program is a literacy series at the elementary level, that works directly towards Van Buren's goal of improving literacy at all levels and increasing student involvement. However, the district is not without its challenges.
"Budgeting, and all those things are always a challenge," Beames said. "In this district, when you have the miles we cover in terms of about 375 square miles, transportation and the cost of fuel is a challenge we deal with all the time."
Even so, the combination of a great staff, great students and a great community make the Van Buren School District a great place to learn.
"I think it's the community, it's the support, it's the teaching staff who are committed to the kids. It's the kids themselves. And so those are all the things that make it good, everybody's committed to doing the best that we can."