Mixed emotions for Lake Superior Elementary on last first day

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 3:12 PM CDT
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SUPERIOR, WI. (Northern News Now) - Students in the Superior School District went back to school Friday.

Daneya Kirven, a kindergarten and first-grade parent at Lake Superior Elementary, had mixed emotions as she dropped her children off.

“My kids are always excited for their first day of school,” said Kirven. “I am as well but I do get a little sad because they’re growing up so fast.”

This year will be Lake Superior Elementary’s last first day.

Last April, the Superior School Board decided to close the school in a three to two vote.

Kirven had hoped parents would have more of a say.

“To have no like, no say there or no power to do it the way that we would like to do it can be really hard,” said Kirven.

The district says their elementary schools were only at 71% capacity and believed closing one of its smaller, rural schools, like Lake Superior Elementary, would solve the issue.

Some parents at the school disagree with the decision, stating the smaller community aids in the students’ education.

“[My son] had a class size of 12 or 13 kids last year and that’s like pretty awesome for one teacher to have enough time to be able to work with each kid together and individually,” said Kirven.

Even leaders in Superior recognize how the school’s small size strengthened their community outside of the classroom.

“All these families know each other,” said Superior Mayor Jim Paine. “All these kids know each other. They’re really passionate about their school.”

Lake Superior Elementary believes that the passion will persist as the school year begins.

“We had no tears that I could see this morning,” said Lake Superior Elementary Principal Rick Flaherty. “Well, maybe a couple of parents as they’re dropping off, but the kids did great and they seem to be very excited about the day.”

As the excitement of the first day fades, Kirven hopes the memories of the school will not.

“I just hope they remember it, and remember their classmates, and remember their teachers,” said Kirven. “And I just hope it’s a really good and comfortable year for everyone, instead of a sad one.”

After the 2023-2024 school year, around 150 students will have to relocate to one of the five remaining elementary schools.

Some parents say they are frustrated by not knowing where their children will go to school next year.

Superior school leaders say they are still working on how the students will be reassigned for next year and encourage members of the community to fill out this survey.

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