Half of the student population in the St. Thomas – St. John District safely returned to schools for the 2018-19 school year on Tuesday, September 4.
Parents happily dropped their children off and some stayed for morning orientation sessions with school administrators. Two days shy of the one year anniversary of Hurricane Irma, schools are off of split session schedules and will be moving into brand new modular classrooms as they come on line and others schools are reopened.
Insular Superintendent Dionne Wells-Hedrington toured schools on its opening day and welcomed students, parents, teachers, administrators and support staff back for a great new school year with new initiatives and blossoming programs.
“Our foot is in the door and some schools are open. I’m excited for the new initiatives the district office this bringing to our schools to ensure a great and productive year. Our students need it.,” said Wells-Hedrington.
On her visit of Ulla F. Muller, Superintendent traversed the campus going class to class to greet teachers and students. Teachers could be observed going over assembly routines for the start of the school day with students.
Schools that opened were the Ulla F. Muller Elementary; Jane E. Tuitt Elementary; Leonard Dober Elementary, Joseph Sibilly Elementary, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle; the Raphael O. Wheatley Skills Center, the Adult Education Program and the Edith Williams Alternative Academy.
The remainder of the district’s schools remain closed until construction work for the temporary modular classrooms are complete.
Commissioner McCollum expressed her happiness in the opening of schools across the territory who understanding that there’s much work to be done.
“I think we had a successful opening to schools. I toured several schools and the students, staff and faculty were generally happy and glad to be back,” said McCollum.
McCollum further stated that some of the obvious cosmetic and structural issues in need of repairs and addressing will be covered under the permanent phase of FEMA’s public assistance program.
While visiting the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School, Commissioner McCollum personally thanks the school resource officers of the Virgin Islands Police Department for ensuring the entire school population is safe at all times.
On a midday radio show Superintendent Wells -Hedrington made special mention of several new administrators and shifts in the district schools, to include, April Petrus, principal of Joseph Sibilly Elementary; Sharon Richardson, assistant principal of the 9th grade academy of the Charlotte Amalie High School; Terrance Corbett, principal of Joseph Gomez Elementary; Michelle Bully, principal of Leonard Dober Elementary; Clifton Boyd, assistant principal of Lockhart Elementary; and Jeune Provost, assistant principal of the Julius Sprauve School in St. John.
Commissioner McCollum thanked the community for its part in the reopening of schools after an irregular and rough school year.
“I want to extend my gratitude and appreciation to the VIDE staff for their hard work in helping us get schools open. I also thank our students and parents for their patience as we worked to get our students back into safe and comfortable school facilities.
The District looks forward to the opening of the remaining seven schools on September 17.