Lewis Elementary School students will return to the school’s campus and classrooms on Jan. 13, said Jesse Najera, Silver Valley Unified School District Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services and Personnel, during a Nov. 13 town hall meeting on Fort Irwin.
Parents are encouraged to bring their children on Jan. 13, like on the first day of school. The school will resume its normal schedule, including bus schedules for the three district schools on post.
The closure of Lewis in August, because of flooding, resulted in about 400 students and their teachers moving into facilities at Fort Irwin Middle School. Its other 242 transitional kindergarten, special education and kindergarten students and teachers were moved to Tiefort View Intermediate School.
Najera briefed approximately 200 parents attending the meeting about the special year-end schedule for the school. Lewis Elementary School students will follow a minimum schedule Dec. 16 through 19, with school ending at noon for kindergarteners and transitional kindergarteners, and 12:25 p.m. for first and second graders. December 20 will be the first of five days of independent study for the students. The other four days of independent study will be from Jan. 7 through 10, following the school district-wide winter break, Dec. 23-Jan. 6. Teachers will be reporting to the school on Jan. 6 to prepare the return of their students in their rehabilitated classrooms.
Marc Jackson, SVUSD superintendent, said in a Nov. 5 email to the Fort Irwin Public Affairs Office, that all of the carpeting is being replaced at Lewis. The flooring and dry walls, up to three feet, are all redone, as are the technology drop points. The cost of repairs to the damage to the school is running about $2 million.
The school’s staff will be looking for volunteers to help with the move, similar to when the school was closed after the flooding.
“We’re going to rely on military partners to help with the move,” said Lewis Elementary School Principal Patti Baer.
Doubling up with the two other schools on Fort Irwin “involved a lot of planning,” noted Jackson. Student drop-off and pick-up times and locations had to be adjusted, as well as school lunch hours and front offices. Additional lunch hour supervisors and health aides were hired at FIMS to meet the age-level needs of the Lewis pupils.
“The Lewis students are resilient and are doing well,” Jackson commented. “They’re great kids.”
Despite the turmoil, school attendance has remained at 96 percent, noted Najera at the town hall.
Jackson commended the school’s staff for adjusting to the situation.
“Moving three times during a semester would be hard on any staff, yet the Lewis team amazes everyone,” Jackson said. “Principal Patti Baer and Dean of Students Aubrey Zucco are super stars.”
Jackson also noted, “I also can’t say enough to the command for the support and assistance that Silver Valley has received. General Martin [National Training Center commander] and Garrison Commander Col. Jon Braga moved on this problem from day one. Their leadership in this case is not only to be respected, but admired.”