Seymour schools welcome students back for a new year


The first day back looked a little different for many students attending Seymour Community Schools.

Construction is nearing completion at Seymour Intermediate School — previously Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade Center — where teachers and staff welcomed not just sixth graders but fifth graders, too.

Also new for the 2023-24 school year, Seymour has adopted a new four-year CEP cycle, which means Margaret R. Brown Elementary, Seymour-Jackson Elementary, Seymour-Redding Elementary, Seymour Intermediate and Seymour Middle School will provide free breakfasts and lunches for all students.

At Seymour High School, where large-scale construction is still underway, Principal Greg Prange said at the start of the school year, there is always so much anticipation.

“New faces, new places, new spaces,” Prange said. “As much as we look forward to summer and vacations, coming to school and working with students and colleagues is what we are all about.”

He said a couple of changes students will see at the high school this year are the English classes have moved downstairs into new rooms and the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium is being air conditioned.

“Our new band and choir rooms are still under construction, as are our special education suites, FACS labs and EL classrooms,” Prange said. “But our new cafeteria is the highlight of our building with modern seating configurations, advanced video technology, electrifying graphics, a coffee bar and a food court-style kitchen featuring five different meal stations that will be enjoyed by students for years to come.”

As a reminder, he said all parents and students have been emailed the details of the procedure they must follow when dropping off students before school and picking them up after school.

“The traffic around Seymour High School is very congested between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and between 3:30 and 4 p.m.,” Prange said. “Much of this traffic is passing through on Community Drive and Second Street on their way to work, and many of these cars are from out of town.”

He said they work with student drivers, explaining to them the safest routes to take to school.

“If you are dropping off your child at school, please use the established procedures that have been developed to ensure the safety of our students,” Prange said.

Kelly Wilson, assistant principal at Seymour Intermediate School, said they are very excited for the start of this school year.

“With the additions we made to the building and doubling our student population, there is so much to look forward to,” Wilson said. “We have amazing staff from all over the corporation that is joining us this year along with some new faces we are looking forward to welcoming.”

She said those additions will bring a diverse range of skills and experiences, enriching the learning environment for everyone involved.

“Our new spaces have added opportunities that we were not able to have before, and our new gymnasium is a great example of this,” Wilson said. “As a building, we will now be able to have whole school gatherings, sporting events and more. These are just some of the many exciting things we are looking forward to.”

She said those who were familiar with the old Jackson Elementary School or the Sixth Grade Center would not believe the changes that have been made.

“The additions and resources that have been added create a brand-new environment for our students to enjoy,” Wilson said. “With four large spaces strictly dedicated to our students with an arts passion to spaces designed specially for our special education students, we have so much to offer our students.”

She said a new cafeteria with two distinct eating areas will provide students a great space to enjoy.

“Student safety has also been addressed with the additions, and a number of changes have been put in place at the building and personnel level,” Wilson said. “With so many changes happening, we can’t wait for the community to see everything we have to offer.”

She said they were expecting approximately 840 students walking through the door Wednesday. That number has risen since last year, and they are looking forward to growing each year as the community expands.

“We would like to remind parents and students to be patient with us this week with a new car rider line off Lynn Street, doors opening at 7:45 a.m. and doubling in population. A lot is changing,” Wilson said. “If parents have questions or concerns, we want to be sure they reach out to us either by phone or email.”

Seymour Intermediate School will be having a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

Aaron Floyd, principal of Seymour-Redding Elementary School, said they always look forward to welcoming a new set of kindergarten students and seeing returning students after the summer break.

“At the elementary level, we have the opportunity to see the amazing level of growth that many of our students have during their five years with us,” Floyd said. “Our building theme this year is GRIT, and we look forward to building tenacity and resilience with our students.”

He said they are excited to announce all Redding students will be receiving free breakfast and lunch and no textbook fees for families, which is a huge benefit to the community.

“Our kindergarten team has also grown to a total of seven sections this year (five sections in grades 1 to 4) which is attributed to the positive growth in our community and Redding area,” Floyd said. “Mrs. Chata Toppe and Mrs. Karen Robertson will be the new team members for those two additional kindergarten classrooms this year.”

He said they also are excited to roll out a Science of Reading program for kindergarten through second grade students that will help increase student achievement. Laura Smith has joined the Redding team as the literacy cadre coach and will be helping facilitate the program.

“Even with our fifth grade moving out this year, we are expecting between 650 and 700 students this year,” Floyd said. “Traffic for our families during arrival/departure can often be congested on Ewing Street/State Road 11, so we encourage families to exercise caution when entering/exiting the Redding parking lot and to turn right (northbound) when possible to reduce the risk of accidents during this time.”

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