Sharpen the pencils and gather up paper and crayons. Summer is coming to an end this week for Grove students and teachers.

With the sound of the first bell at 8:10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, the 2018-19 school year will get underway.

On Monday, Aug. 13, school personnel gathered as a group on the Grove High School campus to kick off the school year with the first of three professional development days.

On Wednesday, Aug. 15, school personnel will hear from Randy Sprick, who will talk about a new form of classroom management.

Grove Superintendent Pat Dodson said they year, he plans to encourage his personnel to "know your kids."

He said he plans to stress how every student has a story. By doing so, he encourages everyone to get to know their students names, needs, hopes and dreams.

"Every child is one adult away from a success story," Dodson said. "Students have a need for advocates, and it's part of our responsibility."

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 fifth 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 Shay Green, 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.

Morris said officers will saturate the areas around the school zones, in the next few weeks to ensure student safety during pick ups and drop off times.

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.

For drivers using Leisure Lane, Morris said the school zone area will remain 15 mph just prior to Seventh Street, past the ECC, until just past 10th Street.