Henryville Elementary students ready to return to class


A little more than two weeks after a tornado destroyed their school, 700 Henryville Elementary School students are preparing to head back to class.

The students will be back in school Wednesday morning, but they will be at a former parochial school in New Albany. The school district spent this week working on details to get the students back in class.

The logistics of getting nearly 1,200 students on buses to two new schools in two different counties is a tough task, but West Clark Community Schools were able to figure out a plan and have it ready to go in just a couple weeks.

"As far as I'm concerned, also, I would call it a miracle to be where we're at now, two weeks after, is a phenomenal thing," said Assistant Superintendent Dr. John Reed.

They expect to send 700 elementary school students to their new temporary location at the old Graceland Christian School on Wednesday. In addition to putting the last minute touches on the classrooms, they spent the last couple days working out some kinks with getting the kids there.

"We have individuals who are actually checking through the entire routes to make sure there's not debris in the road, there's not any corners that are hidden," Reed said.

Drivers didn't run into any major issues during a dry run Monday. Kids will be picked up at the same time and the same location, but rather than going straight to school, they'll be brought to the community center lot, where people like elementary school treasurer Pam Horton will step in to help with the transfer.

"We're going to make sure that all of our little kids get on a bus to go to Graceland," Horton said.

When the high school students start back, likely on April 2, they'll start at the community center, too, then head off to their temporary classroom location in Scottsburg. It's a lot to pull off in a short time.

"We want to do that, because these little kids need some kind of normal, so we're going to go with the new normal. That's how we're hoping it will work out," Horton said.

Because now more than ever, not just learning, but stability is needed in the world of Henryville students.

The district held an open house Tuesday afternoon at the new school location to help students and parents get familiar with their new classrooms.