UPDATE: Plans announced for Crestline students displaced by fire

They will return to classes Thursday at other district schools

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

 

Read the earlier stories

Crestline students to attend other Evergreen schools

Fire displaces 500 Crestline Elementary students

— After a fire Sunday destroyed Crestline Elementary School, Evergreen Public Schools officials spent Monday determining where the school’s students, teachers and staff will be sent for the remainder of the school year. School will resume on Thursday, said Carol Fenstermacher, district spokeswoman.

The school was destroyed in a fire early Sunday. The ruins were still smoking Monday morning. No cause has been determined.

District officials say a new school probably will not be ready until 2014.

Superintendent John Deeder met with all the district’s elementary school principals Monday to determine which schools have space to house the displaced Crestline students and staff.

The district is keeping students and teachers together by grade band, Fenstermacher said. For example, all fifth-grade students and their teachers will all go to the same school.

“We need to make sure if we’re putting four new classes into a school, that the school has the support it needs in regards to school lunches, P.E. and other logistics,” Fenstermacher said.

Once that’s finalized, there will be a meeting with all the Crestline teachers, and teachers will need to go set up their new classrooms.

In all, 22 Crestline classes will need to be relocated. Most grade levels at the kindergarten-through-fifth-grade building have four sections — or classrooms — of students. The exceptions are second and fourth grades, which each have three sections.

The district sent a form to all principals across the district with a list of things Crestline teachers will need and asked schools to lend them.

“Teachers lost all their books, math manipulatives, bookcases, white boards, tables, chairs,” Fenstermacher said.

“Everybody in the district is coming together to make this happen,” Fenstermacher said. “Our transportation folks will need to figure out how to get these kids to the various schools. For the kids who walk, where are we going to have them meet to catch the bus?”

Every school district in the area has called and offered help.

“Superintendents are calling superintendents. Facilities folks are calling facilities folks. Throughout the district, we’re hearing from the other districts,” Fenstermacher said.

All the school districts have agreements to help each other in times of emergency.

“A perfect example is that we have counselors available to the kids now for Crestline Elementary. Members of the SMART Team are volunteering to counsel kids,” she said. Those are counselors from throughout the county, not just the Evergreen district.

Investigation begins

As the administrators planned Monday morning, the fire investigation began.

Neighbors said Sunday they had seen children playing with fireworks near the school Saturday night, but it’s not known if that could be a cause.

The district is meeting with its insurance company, and an insurance representative was at the school Sunday. In all likelihood, it will be fall 2014 before a rebuilt school can be opened, Fenstermacher said.

“One of the fire guys walked me around to the back of the building. There’s nothing left,” Fenstermacher said. “You think about your childhood and how much of your memories are wrapped in your elementary school.”

The district has been overwhelmed by response from the community. Those who wish to donate funds can contribute online to the Evergreen School District Foundation.

Students and their teachers will be housed at the following schools:

  • Kindergarten: Mill Plain Elementary School, 400 S.E. 164th Ave.
  • First grade: Ellsworth Elementary School, 512 S.E. Ellsworth Road
  • Second grade: Columbia Valley Elementary School, 17500 S.E. Sequoia Circle
  • Third grade and students in the Academic Learning Center (ALC): Riverview Elementary School, 12601 S.E. Riveridge Drive
  • Fourth and fifth graders: Fircrest Elementary School, 12001 N.E. Ninth St.

Crestline students will remain with their current teacher and classmates.

Students who normally ride the bus to Crestline Elementary School will be picked up at the same bus spot as before, but five minutes earlier. Students who have not ridden the bus in the past will be contacted by Evergreen Public Schools' Transportation Department with information on the bus pickup location. All students will be transported to Mountain View High School to board a bus for their specific school.

Crestline students who are part of the EXCEL (highly capable) pull-out class will now attend the EXCEL class at Evergreen Public Schools' Flex Academy. Transportation will be provided from the student's home. The EXCEL pullout class will remain on Tuesdays. Students in the New Comers Center will be moved to Burnt Bridge Creek Elementary School.