Rural elementary staff members staying positive about move to Baldwin City
For 25 years, Glenda Rockers greeted students as they entered Marion Springs Elementary School.
Beginning in August, the longtime Baldwin City resident and USD 348 employee will have a new workplace to call home as she and many students of the rural school move to Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center.
Rockers’ move from the rural setting to a new school will take some adjustment on her part, but she’s keeping her spirits up and reports she’s ready for her new secretary role.
“Everything is going to be OK,” said Rockers, who was the secretary at MSES for the past 25 years. “I just look at it as a new chapter in my life. It’s going to be weird, because I’ll be the new kid on the block, so I’ll walk in like all of the new fourth-graders.”
Of course, the move wasn’t without a bit of sadness. She admitted leaving her school, which is now closed, was difficult.
“It was very hard,” Rockers said. “But when you have a great support staff from the people you work with, I know it’s going to be OK.”
In December 2010, the USD 348 Board of Education voted to close MSES and Vinland Elementary School, because of a continuing budget squeeze. When students left the schools’ front doors for the last time at the end of school year, staffs began packing and moving in late May and June.
Both schools were officially moved late last month. The staffs have moved into the BESIC and Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center, both of which are located on the west edge of town.
“The maintenance crew and all of the custodians of USD 348 couldn’t have been nicer, more supportive and more helpful with the move from Vinland and Marion Springs to town,” Rockers said. “They were wonderful, absolutely wonderful. The people at the district office have been great. Everybody has been helpful.”
Michelle Leeker, a former MSES third- and fourth-grade teacher, also had mixed feelings about moving. In the end, she tried to keep her spirits up as she packed and moved into the BESPC where she will be teaching third grade.
“I was just my room all packed up, and they told us when they were moving,” Leeker said. “They moved me, and I went in the next day and everything was ready to go. The process seemed to go pretty smooth. It was sad to go into my room with everything in boxes. Yet, it was exciting unpacking all of the boxes in the new building.”
During the last days of class at MSES, Leeker tried to help her students with the transition ahead of them. She also said she will enjoy having other third-grade teachers to talk to and share ideas with during the school year.
“I asked my kids if they wanted me to pack stuff up or leave it out during the last couple days,” Leeker said. “They were wanting to pack up. I felt like maybe it was a way to help tell them that it will be all right and we’ll be OK next year. The kids helped me a little bit, but I did most of it in the evenings or on our last workday.
“The kids and I talked about what would be different next year, If they had questions, I would email Dan and ask him. He would email back and telling me what they normally did this year. It helped them understand a bit. It also helped taking them to visit the school and see what specials they do and what recess is like.”
The districtwide enrollment day is July 28. That will be the official start of the school year in which USD 348 has only two elementary schools. Those involved are walking in with an open mind.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Rockers said. “The IC is a very nice building. I’m going in with a very positive attitude.”