The 2023-24 school year began this past Tuesday in Yuma.
Students returned to classes early in the morning for a school year that will continue until mid-May 2024.
Yuma High School students returned to school with two new teachers in the building, Brandon Newton as the YHS Vocational Instructor, and Wyatte Leppke as a part-time ESL teacher. Newton is not a new face as he has been a YHS wrestling coach for the past several years. Marie McCasland is the new registrar at YHS.
The only new teacher at Yuma Middle School is Tiffany Sprouse, who will teach fifth- and sixth-grade science. Also joining the YMS staff are Karrie Mainord and Kassandra Willis as special education paras. Nicole Varela is a new secretary at YMS, and also will be a bus driver.
Morris Elementary School has Grace Haruf (a Yuma native and YHS graduate) as a kindergarten teacher, Mackenzie Baucke as a third-grade teacher, and TJ Chadwick as the music teacher. Ixsel Sotelo has joined the staff as a special education para.
Yuma Preschool welcomes Jamie Devlin and Rachelle Saxton as paras.
Superintendent Dianna Chrisman told the Yuma-1 Board on Monday night that YMS still does not have a vocal music teacher, and the district still could use a couple of paras and one more custodian.
YHS could have an in-house Spanish teacher by the second semester. Chrisman explained Leppke is a student-teacher that will spend some time each day in the first semester as an ESL teacher. The hope is then he will be full-time in the second semester, teaching Spanish, as well as ESL teacher.
YHS students returned to school with air conditioning finally in The Pit, as the project recently was completed. An extensive renovation of the sounding and lighting in the auditorium is ready, though there is still some final components that need to arrive.
Chrisman said people are going to have to be trained on the audio and lighting before it can be reopened to the public for special events. However, it is ready for school use.
Students at Morris Elementary were welcomed back to a cooler gymnasium, as its HVAC project also is completed.
Students at YMS returned to new bleachers in the gymnasium, as well as a new paint job that has helped freshen up the gym.
Back to YHS, the football field has been re-centered (look for more on that in a future edition), and new goal posts have been installed.
The track project, though, has been delayed as rains all over has pushed projects being done by the firm that is doing the YHS track. However, it should be done in September, and the crews will work around the football team’s schedule.
“A lot of work has happened in what felt like a short summer work time,” Chrisman said.