After their school was destroyed by the April 4, tornado, Goodman Elementary staff, students, parents, and patrons soon realized a school is much more than bricks and boards.

After their school was destroyed by the April 4, tornado, Goodman Elementary staff, students, parents, and patrons soon realized a school is much more than bricks and boards.  
Thanks to efforts from Goodman staff, Neosho school district personnel, and the public, students finished the school year in temporary quarters in several locations including the district's Central Office in Neosho.  From the first, there was no doubt that Goodman Elementary would be rebuilt but the process will take time.
When school begins on Aug. 16 throughout the Neosho district, Goodman students and staff will be together in one location.
Their temporary quarters will be the former 7th grade wing of Neosho Middle School.  Since 7th graders will attend classes at the new Neosho Junior High School, the space was available at just the right time.
Goodman Elementary principal Samantha Hamilton is looking forward to having staff and students in one location.
"I've heard from a few parents and people," she said. "They are definitely glad they will be back together. And, they're glad the district was so quick to solve the issue. I'm thankful for the district's leadership."
A few adjustments are necessary since Goodman students are kindergarten through fourth grade.  
"We will have to get a few (step) stools for the drinking fountains and sinks," Hamilton said. "But otherwise, we're in good shape."
Goodman students will have a separate lunch period, different than that of middle school students.
 "We will have our own space,"  Hamilton said. "But there may be times we collaborate with the other (Middle School) students too.
Team teaching space is a little less than in their previous building but staff members are adapting to the new environment.  Hamilton shared a video on the Goodman Elementary Facebook page to provide a first look at the space and the moving process for students and parents.  "I will continue to do so," Hamilton said.
Classrooms will be well furnished. "We're in good shape for our temporary site," Hamilton said. "For a school so damaged by a tornado, we have more stuff than we know what to do with."
Between items Goodman School staff was able to salvage, items left by the junior high staff after their move, and donations from the public, the school has what furniture items necessary. "The donations and people have been wonderful," Hamilton said.
Currently, there isn't a playground at the site but Hamilton is working get one in place for the kids. "We got clearance to look into a playground," she said. "We made do with our classes at Central Office last year with outdoor toys and outside time.  Hopefully, we'll have a playground at the site and possibly one we can move to Goodman when the new school is finished."
Demolition of the school in Goodman is slated for early July.  Neosho Middle School will provide a temporary home for Goodman Elementary during the building process.  Plans call for the space to serve their needs through the 2017-18 school year and possibly beyond. "We're preparing ourselves for a couple of y ears, max," Hamilton said.
"We will soon be sending out information to parents," Hamilton said. "We're working on bus pickup sites in Goodman along with parent pickup information, teacher assignments and schedules."
An open house will be held for students and parents on Monday, August 14 so everyone can see the new facilities.  Hamilton and her staff are working to make the experience a positive one for all.
"Our focus is on team building," she said. "We want to make we are as united as we were before.  And, the kids are most important."