ELKVIEW, W.Va. — “I will stay,” an Elkview mother said after registering her 4 year old daughter for preschool in the fall. Cassandra Arbogast is committed to keeping her children in the Kanawha County school system despite work to rebuild schools in town following the June flood.
“I love the community, love the schools, love the teachers. There’s no reason for me to move,” Arbogast said.
Her older daughter Madeline, 6, attends Bridge Elementary where portable classrooms are being installed for students and staff at Clendenin Elementary. The schools have been on a split schedule at Bridge since the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
“There’s more people in her classroom and adjusting to the amount of people in the school now — it’s not like it was — the parking and stuff like that,” Arbogast said.
Herbert Hoover High School will also have portables built at Elkview Middle where those students and staff are attending on split days.
Both Clendenin and Hoover were destroyed in the flood. Eventually, new schools will be built in different locations. Arbogast said it’s exciting to know her daughters will be in brand new buildings some day.
“I love it. It’ll be more for them in the long run — some stuff that the high school didn’t have now that they can benefit from,” she said.
She’s now getting ready to send her youngest, Mallory, to preschool. On Tuesday, Arbogast was at Elkview Baptist Church for preschool sign ups. So was Ashley Swanson, of Clendenin. Her son Braxton, 4, is entering preschool this fall. Her older daughter Brooklyn, 7, attends Pinch Elementary.
“I feel bad for the ones that were excited to go to high school. Now, they’re not getting that full experience,” Swanson said of the rebuilding process.
“But I’m excited for him and my little girl,” she said looking at Braxton. “Probably by the time they’re both in high school they’ll get to enjoy the new school.”
Swanson said her home was not impacted by the flood, but she knows a lot of family and friends who were. Weekly shopping trips to the grocery store are difficult, she said, because a lot of people used to go to the Elkview Crossings Mall before the access bridge to the plaza was washed out in the flood.
“It’s hard, even people that didn’t lose their homes, we don’t have anything in town, hardly. We can’t even drive to Elkview to go to the grocery store because that’s not there either. We have to drive to Charleston,” she said.
Cathy Clendenin, a preschool teacher in Clendenin, has been teaching at the Elk Center since the flood. Classes were moved from Bridge, but she said she expects to return to Bridge this fall.
“I think everybody is doing the best that they can given the situation that we’ve been given, so we are happy at Elk Center, but we miss home. Clendenin is home,” she said in between helping parents sign their children up at the church Tuesday.
Her goal for this year is to keep students on track, despite what’s been going on since the disaster.
“I think now, more than ever, we need to make sure these kids don’t slip through the cracks,” Clendenin said. “We still have families that are living in campers and in tents. School may be the only place that is normal for them.”
Preschool enrollment fairs run through April 3.
Each fair features stations on enrollment application assistance, a nurse’s station, a dental appointment center and additional community resource tables.
The following documents are needed for a preschool enrollment application:
- State certified birth certificate
- Current immunization record
- Current physical exam/well-check up
- Current dental exam
- Documentarion if the child is in the custody of someone other than the parent
- Income verification
- Completed application
Parents can print out a completed application online at http://kcs.preschoolsteps.org. Applications are also available at an enrollment fair.
Locations of the fairs are listed below. All fairs are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
Nitro/Cross Lanes Area
Cross Lanes YMCA
Charleston’s West Side Area
Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary or Switzer Center
Capital High Area
Riverside Area 1
Carver Career Center
South Charleston Area
Edison Staff Development Center
Riverside Area 2
Kanawha City Area
Morris Memorial United Methodist Church
Riverside Area 3