By Lenny C. Lepola
Hylen Souders Elementary School on Miller Paul Road in Harlem Township is the Big Walnut Local School District’s smallest elementary school, with a student population hovering at the 300 mark.
Souders Principal Megan Forman said unlike Big Walnut Elementary and Rosecrans Elementary that experienced major student population shifts during redistricting to accommodate reopening Harrison Street Elementary, her building did not lose any students but added a few students from different buildings.
“We’ll have two full-day Kindergarten classes and one half-day Kindergarten, plus some students not even registered yet,” Forman said. “We have two new Kindergarten teachers, one new first grade teacher and one new second grade teacher. Preschool numbers are up, and Head Start has doubled.”
Forman is especially excited about the physical improvements at Souders that were completed during summer months.
“We now have doors on all of our classrooms as part of our safety initiative,” Forman said. “The modular classroom is gone and that site has been graded and seeded. We have new blacktop in some formerly graveled areas, potholes repaired, the playground blacktop has been resurfaced, and we’ve repaved the front entrance area and paved the side entrance.”
Forman also said there’s been a shift in classrooms. Kindergarten through second grades will be separated into a different wing from third and fourth grades; preschool and LEADS Head Start will be in the front classrooms because those rooms have bathrooms.
“All the classrooms have a SmartBoard thanks to the PTO; we really appreciate their helping us out with that,” Forman said. “Grades three and four have 10 Chromebooks, that’s district-wide, and we’ll have one Chromebook mobile lab.”
Forman said Souders is adding a Character Club as part of the school’s positive behavior system. Each month, students can also compete in a Go For The Gold reading contest with a principal celebration train visiting classrooms as a reward.
Also new will be a Bricks For Kids Lego Club during winter recess times. Souders is starting an Art Club, and Forman said the PTO is putting together a list of other possible clubs.
The Souders office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. There will be a Meet & Greet from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday. Curriculum Night is at 6 p.m. Aug. 19.
The first day of school is Wednesday for grades one through four, pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten start on Aug. 18, and LEADS Head Start classes begin on Sept. 8.
“We invite our community to become involved in their children’s education,” Forman said. “We encourage everyone to follow us on Facebook and sign up for eagle-I, and everyone will receive an email from me at least once each week. I want parents to feel free to stop in and see the exciting things going on at Souders as we continue our rich tradition of inspiring and guiding each student at Souders to reach his or her maximum potential.”