SOUTH WHITLEY — Back to school for Whitko Community Schools began Thursday, Aug 9. School administrators spent the evenings before hosting back-to-school events and orientation meetings, as well as connecting students with their new teachers. Students in grades kindergarten through six will attend Pierceton and South Whitley elementary schools this school year while students in grades seven through 12 will unite at Whitko Jr/Sr High School on the South Whitley campus, formerly Whitko High School.
“We’re really excited that we are moving to a 7-12 configuration here,” said Whitko Jr/Sr High School Principal John Snyder. “I think that was the responsible thing to do. Educationally, it’s a home run because of all the programming we’re able to continue. We’re able to offer more programming to our junior high students, and so educationally, this is really going to be an outstanding move for us.”
At Pierceton Elementary School, Principal Mike McClain said “The excitement has been building. Last week, we had our Pierceton Town Festival, and got to see a ton of kids out on the parade route and our teachers walked the parade so I’m excited to see the excitement on the kids faces as they are getting back with their teachers and getting back into the classroom.”
McClain went on to share his enthusiasm for student leadership happening on campus through programming offered by PES such as the Junior Tech Team. “With kids knowing the technology like they do, they can come in and help out the individual students,” he said.
South Whitley Elementary School’s Principal Bryan Emmert also shared his joy for the big day’s arrival saying, “This year with our consolidation, we will be having sixth grade at our building. So, it’s kind of exciting that we will be having our own sixth grade athletics, hosting some of our own home events, and our students and those teams will be traveling.”
Whitko Community Schools’ new Interim Superintendent Nick Eccles enjoyed the day and shared on an important topic, building student relationships. “The number one thing that we want to do is try to form positive relationships with our students,” he said. “We had a faculty meeting yesterday where we really talked about not only educating students, but really getting to know our students. At this sized school, with the size of classes that we have, our faculty has a great opportunity to not only educate but truly make a difference in the lives of our kids.”
The 2018 school year will be the first year for Whitko to see the fruits of its labor by consolidating it’s school system. The decision was made last year to no longer host students at Whitko Middle School and from that decision began a path that incorporated sixth-grade students into the already existing elementary schools while also adopting 7th and 8th grade students into the existing 9-12 grade campus in South Whitley, forming Whitko Jr/Sr High School.