Garfield Re-2 students return for the start of 2018-19 school year |

Garfield Re-2 students return for the start of 2018-19 school year

Kathryn Senor Elementary School Principal Jana Price welcomes Brecklyn Heuschkel to her first day of third grade on Monday morning in New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Garfield Re-2 students filed back into their schools on Monday, some heading to the school they were in last year and others moving up to middle or high school. It was the first day back for elementary, middle and high schools in New Castle, Silt and Rifle.

By 10 a.m. Monday, Re-2 Director of Communications Theresa Hamilton had been to five of the district’s 10 schools and said that students and teachers appeared to be settling into the 2018-19 school year.

Among the biggest changes to the district this year is the return of the fifth grade students to elementary schools in the district, and the new administration at Rifle High School under the leadership of new Principal John Arledge.

Cactus Elementary Principal Kelly Detlefsen told the Post Independent how excited she was to have the fifth graders back in school.

“The first day of school is always exciting, we are really happy to have the students back and ready to start the year,” she said.

A steady line of parents with their children in flowed through the doors of the elementary in Silt. New to this year, upon arrival, students and parents were escorted to the playground to meet their new teachers before filing one by one into the classrooms to start the day.

The addition of fifth graders at Cactus Valley jumps the enrollment to over 500 students for this school year.

Cactus Valley was one of the district’s six elementary schools to welcome fifth graders back through its door on Monday.

After the district reconfigured its elementary and middle schools around 15 years ago, the school board recently made it a priority to return fifth grade to the elementary schools.

Hamilton said many parents felt fifth grade should be in the elementary schools, and the move helped alleviate overcrowding, especially at Rifle Middle School.

Because of the change, both Highland and Cactus Elementary added assistant principals, as well.

As the Garfield Re-2 school board looks to potentially seek a bond measure and mill levy on the November ballot, which the board will finalize at Tuesday’s meeting, the district will likely look to add eight additional classrooms (four at Highland Elementary and four at Cactus Valley Elementary) to help accommodate the new fifth-grade classes.

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