School begins soon and with that comes a potentially chaotic fist week of finding a routine.
The E-T sat down with the Stephenville Police Department and reached out to Stephenville ISD principals for advice to help parents and students have a smooth first week of school.
“First, we’re excited that it’s the start of school, of course, it seems like it was just yesterday when school let out. It sometimes takes people a few days to get their routines figured out especially if they’re going from one campus to another, so we ask people to be patient — both in the morning and afternoon,” said Police Chief Jason King. “We always have extra officers on the first few days of school that we put at some of the locations where we historically have had congestion problems”
King said there shouldn’t be any construction around campuses to affect traffic.
“We do have some temporary one-ways around Central and Chamberlin and there’s a letter that goes out to parents on meet the teacher night and it should have all the required information in there to help navigate,” King said. “Remember, when you’re in a school zone there’s absolutely no cell phone usage there; hands free only. Our officers always look out for that as well.”
Frey Street in particular can get congested with SISD and Tarleton State University traffic, King said.
There are crosswalks that drivers also need to be aware of.
“State law on marked crosswalks is that pedestrians that are in the crosswalks have the right of way, but you don’t want to just jump out in front of vehicles either,” King said. “You want to make sure before you go into a crosswalk that you have visually looked and everyone is acknowledging each other before you step out. When you’re stopping at intersections that have crosswalks, you need to stop before the crosswalk and not in it.”
King also brought up the laws surrounding school buses.
“Once the school bus stops and the stop sign and red lights come on, do not pass the bus. Even if you are on the other side of the roadway,” he said. “It extends for both directions of traffic unless the bus is stopped and there’s a physical median between the lanes and I know inside of town there really aren’t any stops where that occurs.”
SISD principals also offered advice to ensure parents and students have a less stressful first week.
“Please be patient with all school officials, other parents and children specifically regarding drop off and pickup procedures. Everyone is learning and it takes time for people to get used to new things and for them to run smoothly,” said Central Elementary principal Kelly Magin. “Be excited about the start of school. Your children feed off of you. If you have a positive attitude about starting school — having different teachers, transportation, cafeteria — that positive energy will spill over onto your children. It also shows them the value of education. Nobody is perfect and everyone is working hard, let’s remember to be positive and have grace.”
Magin added that it’s important to create and maintain a routine — like creating a bedtime, a time to wake up and getting things prepared the night before school.
“Make sure your child knows how they are getting home from school. If you are picking your child up from school, coordinate pick up areas,” said Henderson Junior High principal Donna Ward. “If your child rides the bus, make sure your child know the bus number. This is especially important for younger students. Communication between the school and parents is crucial in the safety of our students.”
Ward added that parents who want to drop off their kids at school should study traffic patterns and know which way to arrive and depart the campus.
SISD Superintendent Matt Underwood is also excited for the new year saying he really feels its the one “we have all been waiting for.”
“Rolling out our last ‘one-to-one’ campus at SHS, finding a solution to our long term facility issues, and implementing an exciting new individualized learning platform will highlight the 2017-18 school year,” Underwood said. “We understand that while all of these solutions won’t be easy, they will maximize our efforts to make the greatest students in the state even that much better!”