Tag Archives: School


July 25 • New Albany 

Photos by Kathryn Harrington 

New Albany Housing Authority (NAHA) hosted its Back to School Bash on July 25 at 300 Ernie Ave. School-age attendees received free haircuts, school supplies, sports physicals and eye exams, in addition to enjoying food, music and so much fun. Sponsors of NAHA’s annual event included the City of New Albany, Hope Southern Indiana, LifeSpring Health Systems, New Albany Parks and Recreation and Lions International. 



screen-shot-2018-08-20-at-12-31-04-pmBy Farrah Alexander


Do they really expect me to put my precious child on a SCHOOL BUS? Is he really going to be gone ALL DAY? And he’s going to school EVERY DAY? How is this possible? How can he possibly go seven hours without his mama smooching his little cheeks?

What has really calmed my irrational fears and given me comfort before this transition has been every interaction I’ve had with the teachers and staff at my son’s new school. The only time I felt my eyes actually welling up with tears at the thought of my oldest child entering kindergarten was when I heard the school’s principal tell the parents about her morning routine of telling all the kids she loves them.

I’m not the only one nervous about kindergarten. Although he mostly talks about kindergarten with excitement, Daniel also has brought up aspects that make him nervous. He’s nervous about going to a new school he’s not familiar with and having a new teacher and new students and not returning to the school, teachers and friends he loved and knew so well in preschool. His previous teachers and school were amazing, so I understand his hesitation.

Like most kids, Daniel LOVES getting mail and was excited to get a letter addressed to him. When I read it to him, his eyes became wide and bright. There was no hint of nervousness on his smiling face. It was a letter from his new teacher. She introduced herself and talked a little about her family and how they’ve enjoyed the summer. She wrote that she’s so excited about the upcoming year and how fantastic it will be.

I was amazed that a busy teacher would use the precious time she has away from school to personally write every student a letter. As a parent, getting that letter was getting reassurance yet again that everything is going to be OK and that even when I’m not with my child, he’s still going to be with someone who cares.

In the letter, the teacher included her address so Daniel could send a letter or picture back if he’d like. Although this was all intended for my son, the incoming kindergarten student, and not myself, the nervous and neurotic mother, I’d like to send a message to all the teachers heading back to their classrooms this year.

To our teachers:

Thank you. Thank you for reassuring us and calming our unfounded fears by reminding us that you’re not only fully capable of keeping our kids safe and providing them with a quality education, you do all of this because you truly care.

You care about our children before you even know them. You’re teaching them and preparing them before you even enter the classroom for the first time. We see how hard you work both inside and outside of the classroom. We see you go far beyond the basic duties of teaching all the time. We see you and appreciate you.

It’s hard to see the babies we once held in our arms grow into big kids entering school. It’s hard to let go of the control we once had in their daily lives. It’s hard to kiss our babies goodbye in the morning knowing we won’t see them until the afternoon. It’s hard to realize that this time is fleeting and our babies aren’t actually babies at all.

During this time, thank you for recognizing that it’s a little hard and showing us kindness and empathy instead of saying, “My god, woman. He’s not a baby. He’s almost as tall as you and can eat an 8 ounce steak.”

Thank you for not verbally acknowledging that we followed the school bus in our minivans on the first day.

Thank you for being especially understanding when we forget things, even though you reminded us using several different forms of communication.

Thank you for helping our children learn what they need to excel and prepare for the next grade. I know you have a classroom full of children with vastly different learning styles, abilities, and challenges. I can imagine that in itself is an incredible challenge that changes every year. The fact that you conquer those challenges and make it look so effortless is amazing.

Thank you for protecting our children while they’re not under our supervision. Keeping an entire classroom of children safe is an incredible feat that comes with impeccable diligence. I know among all your other many responsibilities, teachers look for signs of trouble to ensure children are safe both inside and outside of school. When our children see your face, they feel safe and comforted.

Thank you for working so incredibly hard. I know your work day doesn’t only start and end with the ringing of the school bell. I know teachers are under a tremendous amount of pressure and the daily demands of your job are intense. Balancing the overwhelming load all teachers carry and managing to still be patient and kind to your students is remarkable.

Just as you make your students feel comforted and safe, I feel confident in your incredible abilities and fully trust you to take care of the most precious and loved part of myself. I can never say thank you enough. It truly takes a special person to shape little minds, and I feel very grateful my child has you.

Please enter the year knowing that what you do every day matters. You change little lives and the impact lasts a lifetime. Thank you, teachers. Have a great year!


School Success: Superintendent Gives Update on Progress

In late 2016, Floyd County voters passed an $87 million referendum that will fund renovations of nine schools. What’s the progress on these projects?

By Josh Suiter | Courtesy Photo

In November, Floyd County voters passed a referendum that will fund renovations of nine of the county’s 16 schools. The projects range from slight renovations to two buildings being torn down and rebuilt. The $87 million worth of projects will come from property taxes, though residents will not experience an increase in what they currently pay. Superintendent Dr. Bruce Hibbard took the time to answer our questions about the overall progress.

EXTOL MAGAZINE: Can you describe some of the major projects from the referendum?

DR. BRUCE HIBBARD: The first project that has begun is the Highland Hills Middle School new car rider line. The new pick-up/drop-off area is in the rear of the building that is currently not being used. This will provide improved safety for our students and should enhance the experience for our parents with shorter wait times. The second project that will begin shortly is the new Green Valley Elementary School. It will be built behind the current school. The Prosser project is in the final design stage and will be bid soon. This autumn demolition will begin on the Slate Run Elementary site. Floyds Knobs, Greenville and the New Albany High School projects will begin next year.

EXTOL: When do you all anticipate the projects to be finished?

HIBBARD: With moving Slate Run Elementary to Graceland Baptist Church, we anticipate the projects to be finished in 2019. (The corporation is leasing space from the church beginning the 2017-2018 school year until the new Slate Run is completed)

EXTOL: How do you feel these projects will benefit the schools, the students, staff and community?

HIBBARD: In the 1980s, I had the privilege of being on a staff that opened a brand-new middle school. It replaced a school that was built in the 1930s. The students, staff and community had a great sense of pride about the new building. For the next few years after the opening, the staff continued to give tours of the school.

I anticipate much of the same for our projects once completed. The major projects will provide our students with state of the art schools that will enhance their learning and safety. I know that students and staff will take great pride in caring for their new buildings.

EXTOL: How will these projects impact our community and the schools long-term?

HIBBARD: In this era of competition for students, these projects will enable our community to compete for families moving to the area and those that currently live here. The projects will also allow the district to have greater flexibility in balancing our enrollment in our elementary schools. In the long term, our district will be able to utilize our capital project funds to improve the buildings that are not a part of the referendum.

EXTOL: Some of these schools are being completely renovated and in some cases, torn down and rebuilt. How will the transitional period work for these schools?

HIBBARD: Green Valley Elementary is being replaced with a building that is being built directly behind it. Fencing and a separate drive will be used to keep our students and staff safe during the construction phase. Slate Run Elementary students will be moved to Graceland Baptist Church while their new building is constructed. Prosser is a much more complex enterprise. New buildings will be constructed first, then programs will be relocated. The areas vacated by relocated programs will be renovated. It is like playing chess.

EXTOL: What was your reaction to the public’s support for the referendum?

HIBBARD: I was really pleased with the support considering the outcome of the election in general. It was an important win for our students and the region considering this was the first major construction referendum passed in Southern Indiana. Hopefully, other communities will be able to follow Floyd County’s lead.

EXTOL: What do you think led to this success?

HIBBARD: A group of about 30 people that worked countless hours. We ran a political campaign. It started with the help of the Winston and Terrell Group. They helped us with community outreach. After that, our leadership team met with individuals and groups and explained the merits of the projects. Then the Mayor of New Albany, Jeff Gahan, endorsed the referendum. His endorsement was a pivotal moment for our district’s success. The New Albany City Council soon followed with an endorsement. The builders’ association and the realtors’ association were early endorsers as well. Simultaneously, Families for Floyd County (a political action committee) began its work. Under the leadership of Michele Day, the PAC began working really hard to spread the message. For several months, we worked at the New Albany Farmers’ Market. Further, we had a major presence at Harvest Homecoming. Promoting materials were delivered to Floyd County neighborhoods by supporters.

EXTOL: How do these projects help with economic development in our community?

HIBBARD: With $87 million being spent on the projects, a lot of it will be spent on the wages of the workers. Moreover, the schools will help revitalize the neighborhoods in which they reside. New schools are a huge selling point for parents. I anticipate parents buying homes in the Slate Run and Green Valley neighborhoods. Of course, this will improve the infrastructure of our school district.

School board meetings, which are open to the public, are held the second Monday of every month at 6 p.m. and a work session is held the fourth Monday at 6 p.m. Both meetings are held at the Education Support Center, 2801 Grant Line Road in New Albany. These meetings typically include an update on the projects and provide for public comment during the meeting.