By Lenny C. Lepola
Harrison Street Elementary School is the oldest school building in the district.
It was the original Sunbury School before consolidation in the early 1950s created Big Walnut Local schools. General Rosecrans Elementary was built during the recent recession, and when it opened in 2010, Harrison Street was mothballed to lower costs.
With recovery from the recession, residential building started increasing and student populations began growing. Late last school year, to accommodate that growth, a decision was made to resurrect the HSE building with Kim Castiglione serving as principal.
“Harrison Street looks forward to being a part of Big Walnut community once again,” Castiglione said. “It’s through the dedication and support of myriad Big Walnut employees and community members that we will be opening our doors on Aug. 13 to reveal a safe and inviting place for our children to learn.”
Castiglione said over the summer months, HSE teachers were busy creating their classrooms and meeting with their new teams to plan a rigorous and challenging curriculum that will meet the needs of all students; the HSE Parent Teacher Organization executive members organized fundraisers and activities to provide rich experiences for students outside of the classroom.
“We look forward to COSI on Wheels, Fire Safety Day, Children’s Theater, Art Day, Movie Night and Skate Time, just to name a few,” Castiglione said. “This, of course, has all been happening as the maintenance, technology, custodial and food departments have been feverishly working behind the scenes to get our building renovated, updated and operational so our students and families can have a fresh and welcoming school to call their own.
“As we begin our first year, Harrison Street will be striving to build a strong school culture where our community is informed, our staff is inviting and collaborating with each other and our families, and our students are responsible, respectful, and safe,” Castiglione said. “We know how very vital all of this is if we’re going to live our mission statement to inspire and guide each student to his or her maximum potential.”
Castiglione said there would be many new procedures that were not in place when HSE closed, including drop off and pick up routines.
The office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The school day will begin at 8:45 a.m. with buses unloading in the circle in front of the school beginning at 8:35 a.m. A valet system for car riders will be installed, with children being dropped off beginning at 8:35 a.m. and picked up at 3:30 p.m. on Harrison Street.
“Staff will be available to open car doors for the students to exit and enter their cars and walk to and from school,” Castiglione said. “Information will be sent to the student’s homes shortly to explain this further, and will also be posted on our communication tools – the school website, our HSE PTO Facebook page and our HSE Facebook page.”
The HSE Meet & Greet will be held from 3 to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Curriculum Night will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 19.
“What an honor and joy it has been to watch HSE come back to life,” Castiglione said. “The commitment of countless people and amount of support from the community, administration and School Board is truly awe inspiring. We especially want to thank all of those people who donated their time and gifts to the fabulous students of Harrison Street Elementary. Here’s to a great 2014-15 school year.”