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The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

May 11, 2017 Featured - Kalona - Kalona and Wellman now East and West Elementary Schools
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

East is east and West is west, and . . . from now on that is how the elementary schools in Wellman and Kalona will be known – Mid-Prairie East Elementary School and Mid-Prairie West Elementary School.

The name changes approved Monday at the Mid-Prairie Community School Board meeting came on the heels of a major shift in elementary school building uses. All first and second grade students will be attending the Kalona elementary school building and third and fourth grade students will attend the Wellman school building. Both sites will have kindergarten and preschool classes and fifth grade students are being moved to the middle school building in Kalona. The Washington Township Elementary School is being converted for use by the school’s home school assistance program.

The name changes are to facilitate a school district wide identity.

School administrators had favored the names Mid-Prairie Lower Elementary School for Kalona and Mid-Prairie Upper Elementary School for the Wellman site – corresponding to the grade levels at the two schools. Board member Jim Hussey expressed worry that “upper” and “lower” came with negative connotations. Hussey noted the schools could be named to honor individuals, such as Peggy Whitson, an Iowan who has spent more days in space than any other American.

In the end the neutral East and West designations were approved, though it failed the first time around with a tie vote, 3-3. Voting against it were George Schaefer, Jodi Meader and Jeremy Statler. It was approved unanimously on the second vote.

Superintendent Mark Schneider told the board that with 113 kindergarten students signed up for the next school year, there will be the sections of kindergarten in both elementary schools. He added that it looked like there will be 13 bus routes, with 10 stopping at all four school buildings to cut down on transfers. Bus schedules will be staggered, which means some students will not be on buses until 10 to 15 minutes after school ends.

Schneider said they are working with consultants to create badges for the elementary students that would have the child’s name, address, any bus transfers, which bus they take and possibly a photo. They are also working on the next step – badges that can be scanned.

With the route changes, Schneider pointed out, contract issues such as seniority will have to be taken into consideration when assigning drivers.

The school board moved on to approve a name change for the former Washington Township building – the Mid-Prairie Home School Education Center.

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