When Central Elementary School in Monett opened for classes in August, the face of the campus had a new look. The office has been moved to the southwest corner of the school at the entrance with the 1953 cornerstone.
"It's been wonderful," said Principal Annette Cozort. "It's good for parents and kids."
The old office had been in the center of the building. Students entering from their buses on the east side walked across the cafeteria hallway to reach an office with windows on two sides and a door in the corner. Cozort said it was never clear where someone should go with a question.
The new office is directly inside the door with one window open for business. To make travel even clearer, Cozort added colorful banners in the hallway identifying the office, nurse's office, computer lab, library and cafeteria. The change made it much easier for incoming third graders, returning fourth graders and parents to find their way around.
The office itself is more spacious and better laid out than its predecessor. Office Manager Leigh Lemaster greets new arrivals. Susan Claybrook, who handles the breakfast and lunch money, is at a computer station next to Lemaster to input data and help answer student questions at peak hours. Cozort's office is ocated against the outer wall, and the office space also includes room for the teachers to gather their materials. The counselor's office is located right next door to the main office.
"It's like a real office," Cozort said. "It's nice to have it all in one spot, where we can help each other out."
Except for the beginning of the day, when students unload from their buses, the other doors around the building are locked from the outside. Signs have been placed directing visitors and vendors to the southwest entrance. Cozort said the centralization of access has greatly enhanced safety at the campus.
The main door is also where parents come to pick up children by car or on foot at the end of the day. Benches placed around the flagpole by the entrance have become a regular stopping place for parents to socialize at the end of the school day.
With the addition of 30 students over last year's campus numbers, Cozort was pleased to have all the changes completed at once to make Central Elementary a better running operation.