By John Scholl
Superintendent, Chino Valley Schools
With the close of our first full week of school, I want to say that it is great to see kids back on our campuses. On the first day of school, it seemed like I saw mostly smiles from both students and parents. Students were showing up with their fresh haircuts and shiny new sneakers, teachers were very excited to welcome their students into their classroom, and despite a few hiccups, as there always are at the beginning of school, the first week of school was wonderful.
With COVID-19 still rearing its ugly head, we are encouraging mask-wearing for those that want to wear one and continue to focus on hand hygiene to address all germs, not just CVOID-19. As cases come up, and they already have, our District nurse will be working to identify students and staff that may be subject to quarantine. The District is following US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Arizona Department of Health Service (AZDHS) guidelines for isolation and quarantine with recent guidance from Yavapai County Community Health Services.
One downside to the first couple of days of school was the heat. Most of the classrooms in Chino Valley Schools are cooled with evaporative coolers and not air conditioning. When you have 25 or more students in a classroom along with the heat outside, classroom temperatures can get a bit warm. In order to address this, the District has been awarded over $550,000 from the State of Arizona for the air conditioning installation design at all four campuses, replacing the current evaporative units. This is the first step in the $8,000,000 to $10,000,000 project, again paid for by the State of Arizona, with A/C installation still several months away but in process.
For my family, the start of school is the first indicator that the end of summer is near. The second is Labor Day, which is just around the corner. Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, September 4th, the 71st annual Corn Dinner hosted by the Chino Valley FFA Alumni Association will take place from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Those that come to Del Rio School that day will be treated to a barbeque beef dinner with sides and all-you-can-eat corn on the cob served by volunteer “celebrity” servers. There will be both sit-down service, in the Del Rio School cafeteria, along with drive-thru service again this year for those that want to take it home or make a picnic of it. The FFA Alumni Association uses the proceeds from the Corn Dinner to support the Chino Valley High School agriculture program through senior student scholarships and other financial support. The Corn Dinner has a long history in Chino Valley and is a vital part of the Labor Day celebration in Chino Valley.
I want to leave you with my favorite interaction with a student during the first week of school. I was attending the Meet the Teacher event at Territorial Early Childhood Center and as I was walking across campus, I ran across a kindergartener and her parents. The eager kinder was handing out her business card to anyone that would take one.
On the card was a colorful unicorn, her name, and it listed her occupation as “student” and in parenthesis, it listed her as “CEO in Training”. I said to myself, this girl is going places.