1 of 3
Photo by Theo Tate
The Marching Warriors perform the Granite City High School song during the Back-to-School Opening Institute on Aug. 15 in Memorial Gymnasium.
2 of 3
Photo by Theo Tate
State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) speaks during the institute.
3 of 3
Photo by Theo Tate
Superintendent Jim Greenwald speaks during the institute.
GRANITE CITY — State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) has some advice for Granite City students as they return to class.
“This year allows you a chance to learn from some of the best professionals in Illinois right here in Granite City,” he said. “Dedicate yourself to the proposition that you will learn all you can and be as bright as you can be…not only for Granite City, but the state of Illinois. This is your time to excel.”
Kay, along with other area leaders, addressed the student body during the Granite City School District Back-To-School Opening Institute on Aug. 15 at Memorial Gymnasium.
The first day of school was Aug. 17. This year, the district adopted a new attendance center model and dress code policy.
Superintendent Jim Greenwald said the district had a successful summer.
“We had an outstanding high school graduation shortly before the Fourth of July,” he said. “We had four board meetings throughout the summer that were just off the charts because we have a new open direction that’s really outstanding. We talked, we problem-solved and we collaborated. It’s been really good.”
The institute, which lasted about three hours, is a welcoming assembly for district staff members. Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer, Sandy Schnefke of United Way and Jamie Martens-Perry of Chestnut Health Systems also were in attendance.
The theme of this year’s institute was “Children First.”
“Say what you want about Granite City, but there’s one thing I do know — we have the best teachers and staff in the state of Illinois,” said Chuck Noud, president of the Granite City Federation of Teachers Local 743. “I see that on a daily basis and I know that because I see people continuously putting children first. I think if we as teachers, the administrators, the school board and everybody involved will continue to do that, we will have no choice than to have a successful school district.”
Under the new attendance center model adopted in January, first- and second-graders will attend Maryville and Wilson Elementary, third- and fourth-graders will head to either Mitchell or Frohardt Elementary and the Early Childhood Center/preschool students and kindergarteners will head to Prather Elementary.
Students in fifth and sixth grade will attend Grigsby Intermediate School and seventh- and eighth-graders will attend Coolidge Junior High.
“Honestly, I do believe that our new attendance centers that are pre-(kindergarten) through 4 are really going to help the educational process for the children,” Greenwald said. “I think it’s going to be a better teaching experience for the teachers, so I’m very positive about this.”
Under the new dress code policy adopted April 12, students are allowed to come to school with any kind of clothing (barring vulgar, profane or inappropriate wording or images).
In the past, Granite City students had to wear polo shirts, khaki pants and hooded sweatshirts.
GCHS Student Council officers Derek LeMaster and Kennedi Coakley announced a list of top 10 reasons why they were glad to return to school this year, and no uniforms topped the list — to the delight of the crowd.
Greenwald said he was happy Kay attended the institute.
“Dwight has been very proactive with us this past year due to the state funding formula,” the superintendent said. “He was with us all the way in our ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) hearings this past year. Also this spring, he allowed (GCHS social studies teacher Linda) Ames and a group of students to actually come up to his office in Glen Carbon for a roundup.”
“Education is like medicine. It has the capability to treat most diseases. Education has the ability to cure most misunderstandings and helps us to solve problems,” Kay said.
The ceremony began with a performance from the Marching Warriors, who attended the Pro Football Hall of Fame Parade in Canton, Ohio, earlier this month.