School is going to start all too soon. Remember how easy it was? What we needed was No. 2 pencils, a pink pearl eraser (how many of you chewed on them or ate them?), a box of Crayola crayons, a folder (can’t I please have a Trapper Keeper?), a ruler, lined paper (wide-rule or college-rule depending on the grade) and we were good to go. Today it goes way beyond that — can you say Chromebook? 

The changes aren’t only in the supplies, they are in the school buildings themselves.  Brook Park School saw its modular classrooms drive off to make room for the shiny additions to the school – including a brand new K-2 wing, new gym, a new playground and, perhaps best of all, air conditioning. What will they do with all those old box fans? Lucky students, those kids at Brook Park. 

Also, Brookfield’s S.E. Gross School has had construction going for the past year on a brand new gym, cafeteria, music and art rooms and a state-of-the-art STEM lab.

Riverside is looking for more room to accommodate its growing student population.  And to think it wasn’t that many years ago the idea of closing Blythe Park School was discussed, though that didn’t happen.

Ames School is looking to expand onto land the school district purchased on two sides of the school. It was OK when I attended kindergarten there. Central School and Hauser Junior High are getting crowded, so the District 96 offices were moved to make more space available. 

Even Hollywood School across First Avenue in Brookfield needs more room. The late Dr. J. Luster Godbey, superintendent of District 96 always said that the school should remain for those children on the west side of First Avenue.

At Komarek School in North Riverside, the administration and school board are trying to convince voters to approve a referendum to expand and update that campus. Believe it or not, the rooms from the original two-room building are still being used. 

Six additions have been made to the school since that two-room school was built in 1936, the last being in 1970. The bonds used to build that addition were retired in 1981. The school is looking to make the changes, update and make the school what the children and the community need.

Good schools, that includes the buildings, make for positive learning environments and good students — and good schools increase property values. As my mom used to say, “Someone helped pay when my children went to school.”

Know your schools and support them.

Save the date: The Riverside Person of the Year Dinner honoring Bill Sherman will be on Sept. 25, 2019. More information to follow.