It's back to the classroom for Crestline Elementary students, just four days after a fire tore through their school and leveled it to the ground.
The school's near 500 students split up into five different schools within the district, and teachers worked down to the wire to make sure their classrooms were ready for students come Thursday.
"It's just been all hands on deck, and every heart open," said Mill Plain Elementary Principal Karen Fox. "It's just moving and it's fast paced, and there's really just a lot for us to plan for."
Mill Plain along with four other schools within the Evergreen School District are doing all that they can to accommodate the unexpected onslaught of displaced Crestline students.
While the schools were busy clearing things out, Crestline teachers were busy moving things in Wednesday.
"It's a little stressful and we just can't get by that, we're also sad," said Crestline teacher Nancy Brewer.
The challenge now, Brewer says, is not just how to fill their new room with new materials, but also with the memories their students lost in the fire.
"We're going to draw pictures of ourselves and decorate them all nice. Then we will sit on the rug and have a discussion about any questions or feelings they have. Just to put them at ease that we're going to be alright here," said Brewer.
And it's not just teachers who were busy in preparation, students appeared to be excited to have new classmates, too.
"We're making a welcome banner and everyone in school signed it," said Fircrest fifth-grader Trinitie Sullivan.
"I'm just going to try and comfort them, and then invite them to play with me and my friend," said Sullivan.
Above all else, teachers said Thursday is about making the students feel at home and rebuilding the sense of what it means to be a Crestline student.
"It's going to be a school within a school, and we will maintain the Crestline entity and they will be Crestline students," said Crestline Principal Bobbi Hite.
Students and their teachers are being housed at the following schools:
- Kindergarten students will go to Mill Plain Elementary School, 400 SE 164th Ave., Vancouver.
- Students in the first grade will go to Ellsworth Elementary School, 512 SE Ellsworth Rd., Vancouver.
- Second-graders will go to Columbia Valley Elementary School, 17500 SE Sequoia Circle, Vancouver.
- Third-graders and students in the Academic Learning Center (ALC) will go to Riverview Elementary School, 12601 SE Riveridge Dr., Vancouver.
- Fourth- and fifth-graders will go to Fircrest Elementary School, 12001 NE 9th St., Vancouver.
Crestline students will remain with their current teacher and classmates.
Students that normally ride the bus to Crestline Elementary School will be picked up at the same bus spot as before, but five minutes earlier. Students that have not ridden the bus in the past will be contacted by Evergreen Public Schools' Transportation Department with information on the bus pickup location. Students will all be transported to Mountain View High School where they will board a bus for their specific school.
Crestline students that are part of the EXCEL (Highly Capable) pullout class will now attend the EXCEL class at Evergreen Public Schools' Flex Academy. Transportation will be provided from the students home. The EXCEL pullout class will remain on Tuesdays. Students in the New Comers Center will be moved to Burnt Bridge Creek Elementary School.
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