Kathleen Middle Ready to Bounce Back From Tornado Strike

Kathleen Middle Ready to Bounce Back From Tornado Strike

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Principal Sheila Gregory addresses KMS staff

After an incredible recovery effort, Kathleen Middle will be ready for students to return on Monday.

Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd and Principal Sheila Gregory welcomed teachers and staff back to campus today, and provided an update on conditions at the school.

Kathleen Middle suffered significant tornado damage last weekend. Since then, crews have been working diligently to clean up the campus and begin the repair process. The historic building will need a new roof and other renovations.

“As you can see, we have a little bit of damage,” Gregory said. “But you know what? It’s not anything that’s going to damage the spirit of Kathleen, it’s not going to damage the instructional momentum that we’ve got going on here at Kathleen, and it’s not going to diminish how we all feel working together.”

According to today’s update:

-Twelve portables have been installed as temporary classrooms, and will be up and running by Monday.

-Security measures are in place to keep the campus safe and secure as repairs continue. The construction process could take more than a year to complete.

-A crisis team will be present for students and staff members to provide counseling services. Staff members will also be taking special care to help students readjust to the school day.

This morning, teachers and staff members began preparing their classrooms. They worked in teams to move furniture, and determine what textbooks and teaching aids were salvageable.

Superintendent Byrd told Kathleen’s staff members that she was sad to see all of the damage, but uplifted at the sight of them returning to their campus.

“I am so glad to see all of you back at Kathleen … we are Kathleen Strong,” Byrd said.

Superintendent Byrd addressing KMS staff

“I want to thank all of you for the hard work that you’ve done,” added School Board member Kay Fields. “We really appreciate you, we’re behind you 100 percent, and whatever you need to get everything back in place, we are going to provide — we promise you that.”

Donations of classroom supplies from the community have also been pouring in since the storm. A list of requested items as well as drop-off locations can be found here.

For many staff members, it was an emotional experience to come back to the campus. Students will likely want time Monday to share their thoughts and feelings about what happened.

“They need that,” said Alyssia Keys, an eighth-grade civics teacher, as she began visualizing where furniture would be going inside her portable classroom.

Paraeducator Parisha Sheard said staff will help students settle back into the rhythm and rules of school.

“We’ll make sure kids are doing what they need to do, and help them get back into the routine,” she said.