The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 13, 2012

Monroe students move back into their classrooms

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The last Monroe Elementary School students displaced because of ongoing renovation at their building got to move back into their classrooms this week.

Traci Layton’s 22 fifth-graders started the school year in a portable classroom in August, and stayed there until Thursday, when they enthusiastically helped put desks on the floor and arranged their “inside the building” classroom. All of the school’s fifth-graders were in portable classrooms, so as to keep the pre-kindergarten students inside the main building while work was taking place in their classrooms.

Layton’s students were glad to be back inside Monroe, but perhaps not as glad as Layton.

“Everything was tight, but we made it work,” Layton said. “We were without a SMART Board, so I had to find a lot of innovative ways to present the lessons.”

Desks and chairs were stacked in the middle of the room when students went inside, so they sat on the floor around the edges of the room. Then they got organized and got busy, pulling down desks and setting desks right side up and pulling chairs off the stacks.

Lickety-split, desks were arranged in two rows of pairs, so students faced a classmate across from them and sat alongside another.

As each student’s desk was located and put in place, they found their own bags filled with items that belonged in their desk, and set up their desk for work.

When the arranging was finished, the classroom had one group of boys and another group of girls.

Layton handed out disinfecting wipes so students could clean their desktops. Three boys got busy setting up the classroom computer on Layton’s desk. Along the edges of the room, stacks of books and boxes of supplies waited to be put in place.

Down the long hall to the west end of the building, the pre-kindergarten students were enjoying their own bright and newly completed classrooms. On Wednesday, the pre-kindergarteners vacated the classrooms the fifth-grade classes moved into on Thursday.

Pre-kindergarten teacher Kristen Hall said her 21 little students helped as much as they were able.

“My guys helped me with the little things,” Hall said. “We had a train of stuff in the hallways. It was pretty neat. They got to help, too.”

Monroe Principal Polly Maxwell said workers are down to the final few things to be done.

“We are all back in the classes,” Maxwell said. “They are just doing finishing touches. Our main entrance had been closed and it is now reopened and we have whole new offices.”

Monroe has about 450 students in 25 classrooms. Maxwell noted an open house will be scheduled after the first of the year.

“We’re looking forward to establishing a new parent-teacher organization,” Maxwell said.

PTO meetings will begin in January.