Gather up the books, shine those shoes. Summer is coming to an end this week for Grove students, as the new school. Summer is winding down in Grove as teachers and students prepare for the start of the new school year this week.

With the sound of the first bell at 8:10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, the 2017-18 school year will get underway.

On Monday, Aug. 14, school personnel gathered as a group on the Grove High School campus to kick off the school year with the first of two professional development days. 

District Wide Open House

The district-wide open house is set to take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15. This is the fourth year the district has set a late-afternoon/early evening open house.

The move came a few years ago, in order to provide working parents with a time that is more convenient to meet their child(ren)'s teacher. 

Safety First

The start of the school year also means increased traffic in the various school zones. 

GPD School Resource Officers Tracy Bloss and John Sherman, along with other officers from the department, will patrol the school zones. 

Additionally, members of the VIPs (Volunteers in Police Service) will also provide an additional presence and help direct traffic in the beginning days of school.

"Drivers need to be courteous and cautious and expect delays, especially in the first couple of weeks," Grove Police Chief Mark Morris said. "They also need to remember that students bolt out and around vehicles."

School Zone reminders

In most school zones in Grove, traffic is reduced to 15 mph during designated times and when the lights are flashing. The school zone around the high school is reduced to 20 mph.

The prime time for school zones is from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and from 2:30 to 4 p.m., with fines doubled for speeding in a school zone.

Additionally, Morris said, drivers need to be aware of school busses.

When a school bus stops to pick up or drop off students, it will have flashing red lights and an extended stop sign.

This means traffic is required to stop in both directions, until the bus’s lights go off and the sign is back in.

Traffic is required to stop in both directions on any highway or street not divided by a physical barrier. This includes traffic on Highway 59 and south Main, where traffic is divided by an open lane.

As with speeding in a school zone, passing a stopped school bus with its lights and stop sign active will also result in a fine.

GPS district-wide open house

District-wide open house for Grove Public Schools takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, at all campuses. The first day of school takes place on Thursday, Aug. 17. 

2017-18 District Bell Schedule

A closer look at the start and finish times for the five campuses which make up the Grove Public School system. Times are staggered throughout the district. 

Fall Semester (August to December)

Early Childhood Center & Lower Elementary

Start time: 8:15 a.m. 

Students dismissed: 3:10 p.m.

Upper Elementary

Start time: 8:15 a.m. 

Students dismissed: 3:30 p.m. 

Middle School

Start time: 8:15 a.m.  

Students dismissed: 3:25 p.m.  

High School

Start time: 8:20 a.m. 

Students dismissed: 3:15 p.m.  

Spring Semester (January to May)

Early Childhood Center & Lower Elementary

Start time: 8:15 a.m.

Students dismissed: 3:30 p.m.

Upper Elementary

Start time: 8:15 a.m.

Students dismissed: 3:10 p.m.

Middle School

Start time: 8:15 a.m.

Students dismissed: 3:10 p.m.

High School

Start time: 8:20 a.m.

Students dismissed: 3:25 p.m.

Tips for a new school year

Grove Superintendent Sandy Coaly offers the following tips to help parents and students start the new school year off on a positive note. 

• Introduce children to their teacher before school starts. It helps the first day go easier.

• Support the teachers. When issues arise, come and talk to the teacher or the administrators. "Visit with us so we an work out what is best for your student."

• Take part in their education. Attend school events and monitor their grades.

• Make sure students attend class each day. "Attendance is something I can't stress enough. If the student misses school often, or is tardy they truly miss out on their education."

• See education as a team effort. "Parents need to know that we can't be successful without them on our side. It takes three components for education to be at its best, parent, student and teacher. If one of those components is missing, students will not reach their full potential."

Back to School Tips from GPD

Grove Police Chief Mark Morris suggests the following tips for parents at the start of the new year.

Don't Speed. School zone rules will be enforced.

Do Leave Early. Make sure to leave enough time for the drop off and pick up times.

Don't Text. Don't text and drive in a school zone.

Do Use Caution. Be aware of an increase in pedestrian traffic around the various school zones.

Do Watch Other Drivers: Be courteous. It makes things work out easier when everyone works together.

Don't Be Distracted: "Keep your eyes on the prize." Remember what is important - children's safety.