Wilkerson Elementary students begin school year at Watson Lane Elementary
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It was the first day of school for over 550 students at Watson Lane Elementary, and it was a warm, yet unexpected welcome.
The school in the Valley Village neighborhood reopened as part of JCPS’s back up plan until the new Wilkerson Elementary passes inspection.
Parents and teachers found out their children would be headed to Watson Lane instead of the new school just about a week ago.
“Honestly, I just figured it’s such a small school, Watson is, so it’s a big transition for all those kids to go to a tiny school,” parent Lisa Wolney said. “So it was kind of nerve wracking. We didn’t really know how it’s going to work. And the line this morning to drop them off was super, super long. So it took a minute, but everything went pretty smooth.”
Teachers had to transition pretty quickly, but they were able to get everything ready for students to enjoy their first day.
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio stopped by on Wednesday morning to congratulate students on starting school, and to thank them for moving to Watson Lane Elementary while the new Wilkerson Elementary remained under construction.
“One of the main reasons why you couldn’t go in there was because the roof was leaking,” JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Polio said.
Staff, like fourth-grade teacher Lisa Philips, said Wednesday was a reunion.
Phillips taught at Watson Lane, and said she thought when it closed at the end of the last school year, she would never return.
“We’ve got some Wilkerson students, we have a few from other schools,” Phillips said. “Like you said it’s like a class reunion with them. Going, ‘Oh, I remember you from last year.’ And they are getting to know their new friends that are from the opposite school.
Phillips said she has been teaching for 15 years. She said she found out she was headed back to Watson Lane, and while the transition was a little hectic, she said it was overall not too bad.
“Everyone has been working as a team and it’s been really wonderful to see all the former Watson Lane and Wilkerson come together and help each other,” Phillips said.
Fifth grader Karly Clemons said she came from the old Wilkerson Elementary.
“We are just coloring like a packet, we are doing a math packet,” Clemons said. “I was nervous at the meet the teacher thing, but this has been fun.”
The district said it plans to finish construction and pass certification in a matter of weeks, not months, but they are not sure exactly how long that will take.
Due to staffing shortages, JCPS bus routes may often require a second run in the mornings and afternoons to pick up students from bus stops not covered in a first run, according to the district.
To check on your child’s bus route, you can visit the “Bus Delay Dashboard.” Parents and guardians looking for their child’s bus route and nearest bus stop can also access the interactive Bus Finder website, or by calling (502) 485-RIDE (7433).
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