MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — A new school year started Thursday for thousands of Middletown public school students while hundreds at Rosa Parks Elementary got their first look at a $10 million expansion of their school.
The project, which has been in the works for two years, adds state-of-the-art classrooms and other learning spaces to the elementary, including eye-popping wall paintings that left students and parents impressed.
But it’s not simply a makeover.
The new wing of the school and its classrooms will also help alleviate overcrowding in other Middletown elementary schools in the 6,300-student city schools, said district officials.
“Today was electrifying,” said Middletown Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr., who personally greeted many of the school’s returning students Thursday morning.
“When I walked into our buildings today, I felt an authentic, genuine excitement to have students back to school. We’re excited every year, but this year is even more special, even more exciting. Everyone has a genuine joy to be back in school,” said Styles.
Similar to some other major districts in the area, Middletown Schools are conducting a staggered start of classes for the 2021-2022 school year as a way to ease students back into live classes under the lingering stresses of the coronavirus pandemic and recent uptick of the virus’ variant.
Thursday saw students in grades 1 to 8, and freshmen, with last names starting with letters A-L, attending classes. Today, remaining students and grades 10-12 will begin classes.
Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for the city schools, said “the first day of school is always exciting – from new shoes and fresh (hair) cuts to seeing old friends and the possibilities of a new year – but it’s extra special for our Rosa Parks Elementary students.”
“Today marks the opening day of our brand new wing. I overheard excited students saying: ‘Is this really for us?’ and exclaiming ‘I get to be upstairs in the new part this year!’ On the staff side, our (school) professionals are just thrilled to be out of closets and in actual rooms where they can assist students easily,” said Beadle.
Some Butler and Warren County public schools – including Butler Tech and Mason Schools – began the new year this week and most public and private schools locally will start classes next week.