Washington Elementary preps for final year in old facility - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Washington Elementary students prepare for final year in old facility

Parents drop off kids on first day of class at Washington Elementary School. Parents drop off kids on first day of class at Washington Elementary School.

Transitions can be difficult, but those times can also be a lot easier, if friends share the journey with you.

Sioux City's Washington Elementary is preparing for the final school year in its old building. This year's group of students faces a different challenge than those who went before them.

With a new school year, Chantae Larson is making some changes. This year, she's teaching a new grade, and her students will work with a new, tougher math program.

"It's going to be more rigorous than they're used to this year, so it's going to be quite a change," said Larson.

That's not the only adjustment, though, for Larson and her students. This is the last year they'll be together at Washington, before the school is torn down and rebuilt.

"The kids are pretty resilient. They handle change, better than adults do sometimes. So, I think that they'll be fine," said Dawn Stansbury, principal at Washington Elementary.

Right now, the doors of Longfellow Elementary are locked, but beginning in the fall of 2013, Washington Elementary students will study there for two years while their new school is built.

"If you look at the layout of Longfellow, it's completely different, so they're going to have to learn all the new rooms and just get used to the new building," said Larson.

This year's group of fifth graders will be the last ones to graduate from the old Washington.

"This school was a fun place to hang out with my friends, and I just think this was a fun school," said Caleb Winter.

"I'm kind of happy because we don't have to move to a different school and then come back," said Madilyn Van Dyke.

"It does make them feel a little bit special," said Stansbury.

Larson says it's an opportunity that her first graders should be embrace.

"They're one of those students that get to end at the old building and start at the new building. It'll be nice for them to go to three buildings, instead of the two," said Larson.

Then, there's the element of being first. That could make the start of the new year even more special.

"I think this just adds a little bit more excitement to it, knowing that this is the last first day of Washington Elementary as we know it," said Stansbury.

School officials say construction on the new Washington Elementary should start shortly after classes conclude in May.

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