Local schools brighten campuses for Aug. 10 opening


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Students and parents coming to Manatee Elementary School will notice some new changes.

Jill Blue

It’s hard to believe, but the first day of school is less than a month away with students officially heading back to class Aug. 10.

And when students and staff head back to Viera-Suntree elementary schools, they’re likely to notice some changes ranging from subtle to substantial.

Manatee Elementary has had new surveillance cameras installed, according to Principal Shannon Daly.

That’s just the latest addition to security measures that were noticeable at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, Daly noted.

“We were able to finalize our security door project during May so all of our families at Manatee have experienced our new security doors,” Daly said. “…. Our security doors are locked during student hours.”

Quest Elementary will have some new measures in place as it relates to the pickup and drop-off of students, Principal Christine Boyd said. Students and parents will notice marked cones and a new PA system outside the school where parents can hear the last names of students on pickup.

In addition to safety measures put in place during the last school year, parents will need to show identification when picking up their child, Boyd said.

“At Quest, it's always been a tight pickup and drop-off policy where all the kids are designated to a particular area where they need to go," Boyd said.

Boyd also noted that the school’s parent-teacher organization purchased a new communication sign that will have announcements regarding everything from safety tips to announcing school events.

Parents will be able to wind as they drive through the parking lot so “you can accommodate more at the parking lot instead of having them in the street” in an effort to reduce congestion, Boyd said.

At Suntree Elementary, students there can expect to notice a change to their lunch atmosphere, as the school’s cafeteria will have been painted a “lovely shade of blue,” according to Carrie Kachur, the school secretary.

Kachur added that security gates will be up at the school as well, though they were also up at the end of the 2017-2018, she added.

Additional safety measures also were put in place last year at Ralph Williams Elementary, according to Jeaniey Geremia, the school secretary, but students there might feel a nice cool breeze when they walk into class there.

“We’re getting a new AC (air conditioning) system,” Geremia said.

Everyone at Kennedy Middle School will notice new paint in the commons area and in classrooms according to school secretary Rita Patient. The painting was done by volunteers that consisted of current students and their parents, former students who now attend high school and teachers.

“It’s bright and cheery,” Patient said.

Patient added the school’s cafeteria is being remodeled and that some older portables at KMS have been replaced by newer ones.