The approximately 4,500 students in the Neosho R-5 School District and their parents are encouraged to attend the first all-school open house Monday evening.

“All of the buildings are doing open house on the same night,” explained Dan Decker, superintendent. “So we’re going to run open house from 5 to 8:30 in the evening, and the goal is to allow parents to come one night. They make one trip to town, they may have kids in three buildings, but by spreading it out over three and a half hours they can hit every building and get it all done in one night.”

Decker said the attempt is to make open house more convenient for parents, rather than many having to come to town from the far reaches of the school district as many as three nights.

“Hopefully we’ll get better attendance with that because parents can come that one time versus coming several nights,” he said.

Decker said new teachers were formally introduced to the school district this past week, including the annual New Teachers Tour on Wednesday, and all staff both certified and classified was gathered Thursday for an orientation with the theme, “Raising the Bar: How High Is High Enough?” Decker said his presentation guided staff toward what their focus should be, while offering challenges to staff. He noted Active Shooter Training was also provided to all staff on Friday.

He said teachers have the option of working or not Tuesday, and then classes begin for the 2014-2015 school year this Wednesday, Aug. 13. Decker warned that construction of the FEMA shelters at two of three buildings will cause some traffic disruptions, and an entire new traffic philosophy has been formulated at the high school.

“The challenge is going to be, of course, at the high school: the traffic,” Decker said. “The pick-up and drop-off is going to be a little bit challenging.” He recommended that following posted signage will be important.

“If people will watch and pay attention to the signs, knowing that the buses are going to be loading in what used to be the senior parking lot, so in the morning that’s going to be off-limits to cars.”

Decker said entry to the high school building will be behind the school, where there is also some parking.

As the front drive and parking lot is tied up by the FEMA shelter construction, Decker warned that traffic around behind the school is one-way only, with entry from the north and departure to the south end of the school.

“Being patient is going to be big, and also communicating with the district. If they feel like there’s a different way,” he said. “If there’s something we’re missing, we’re going to do what’s best, but we’re certainly open to hearing suggestions if people feel like there’s a better way we can do it.”

After going through the drill Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Decker said administrators, staff and police will huddle to see what is and is not working, and then make any needed adjustments.

He warned that South School will also bring some traffic challenges as the FEMA shelter there is constructed. Now a through street as motorists drive through the parking lot, Decker said Wayne Avenue will be shut down to the east of the school when construction is ongoing.

He also advised following signage at the middle school.

“We’re going to continue to drop off the same way we always have, they’ll be dropped off right in the very front of the middle school,” Decker said. “Where the difference is, during the school day if a parent needs to get in touch with a seventh grader, they will actually park over in front of the junior high office, and there’ll be signage to show them. They won’t drop off over there, they’ll drop off in the normal place, but then during the day for interaction they’ll go to the parking lot at that part of the building.”