Students in the Grand County School District returned to their classrooms on August 18 as warmhearted community members, teachers, and parents welcomed them with fun, costumes, and music during the first day ‘clap in.’

“We wanted to give our students at all three schools a nice welcome with some excitement,” said Jeremy Spaulding, GCSD community coordinator. Groups that greeted local students included the Moab Valley Fire Department, the Moab City Police Department, Grand County EMS, the Grand County Public Library, and the Youth Garden Project.

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“We had a huge group from Wyndham hotels come out,” Spaulding said, “and folks from the hospital came out dressed as unicorns with a bubble blower. Very silly, very amazing.” 

Spaulding said that students at Helen M. Knight Elementary School were particularly excited by the greeting. 

“The kids were hyped! Some kids did the worm while walking in, some breakdanced,” Spaulding said. “It was really an awesome way to see such nice community support for our students.”

This year, the school district has more students—the school year began with about 30 more enrolled students than last year. Not only that, but all three schools are fully staffed with teachers. 19 teachers are new to the district this year. 

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“Those staffing numbers mean that our kids are well cared for,” Spaulding said, who noted that the district is still looking for one preschool teacher.

“Now that we have great teacher staffing, we do need help around the edges,” he said. While every classroom has a teacher, the Grand County School District is in current need of paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and substitute teachers.

“We would just love to fill that last 10% of support staff with people from the community who are excited and would like to work in the schools a couple of days a week,” said Spaulding. “Maybe you’re a mom with kids in school or a retired person and you want to be able to give back: We would just love to have you.”