Working on Labor Day

Some get a head start on the week, others find themselves in a foot chase

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Jaci Schreiber, a first-grade teacher at Duncombe Elementary School, organizes some activities for the upcoming week Monday afternoon.

Not everyone took Monday off.

Teachers in the Fort Dodge Community School District were busy preparing for the week in their classrooms, while law enforcement had its hands full on the streets.

Emily Winninger, a kindergarten teacher at Duncombe Elementary School, was focused on creating her lesson plans.

“Stuff I would ordinarily do in the mornings,” she said. “It feels like a Sunday.”

Winninger taught last year at the old Fair Oaks Middle School.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Emily Winninger, a kindergarten teacher at Duncombe Elementary School, prepares an activity in her classroom Monday afternoon.

She along with everyone else is still settling into the new Duncombe school, which opened last week.

So far, so good, she said.

“The rooms are huge,” she said. “It’s a lot different than before.”

Monday was a chance to get ahead.

“It’s nice to have some extra stuff prepped,” Winninger said.

Down the hall, Jaci Schreiber, a first-grade teacher, was doing the same.

“Being a teacher, the work never ends,” Schreiber said. “It’s either do work at school or do work at home. You get a lot more done here, that’s for sure.”

Schreiber said she spends a lot of time teaching students new rules. That’s especially important at a new school with new surroundings.

“In the classroom, there’s no running,” she said. “We already had that on the first day.”

New furniture in each of the pod areas need to be treated with care, Schreiber said.

“We don’t stand on them,” she said. “New chairs with the rolly wheels, we don’t race them or roll long distances.”

She said the No. 1 rule no matter where students are is what’s called the silent signal.

“If our hand goes up, they are to put their hand up and stop talking,” Schreiber said. “We also use chimes.”

This week students will be tested on those rules.

“We will do some sorting,” Schreiber said. “They will be given certain scenarios and have to decide whether that’s a good choice or not.”

She likes teaching first-graders because of their curiosity and attitudes.

“On the first day I asked them how they felt about school using an emoji,” Schreiber said. “Many of them picked the heart emoji. That’s why I love first grade.”

Emojis are small digital images or icons used to express an idea or emotion.

Megan Northway is a new teacher at Cooper Elementary School.

After taking her nephews to see a movie, she focused her attention on lesson plans.

“Tonight I am working on some science — a caterpillar mini unit because I found some caterpillars over the weekend. We are going to look at them and see how they change. I am also working on some guided reading. A little bit of everything.

Northway is co-teaching second grade.

The co-teaching model puts a special education teacher and general education teacher in the same classroom to serve all students.

“I am a special ed teacher in the classroom and then there is a general education teacher in the classroom,” Northway said. “We share responsibilities with the students. I focus a little bit more on students with IEPs and getting them what they need. We both work together to make sure kids get what they need to succeed.”

Prior to coming to Fort Dodge, Northway taught preschool in Sidney.

Her transition has gone well, she said.

“My co-teacher is great and we are figuring out how to plan and who does what,” Northway said. “We are definitely figuring it out.”

She added, “I am looking forward to the co-teaching experience. I think it’s great to have somebody else’s opinion when you are planning lessons and teaching lessons. I think Fort Dodge is going to be a great fit for me.”

While teachers prepared for a successful learning environment, local law enforcement was busy keeping the community safe.

Josh Van Waes, a deputy in the Webster County Sheriff’s department, began his shift at 1:45 p.m.

“We have been busy,” he said.

As of about 8:30 p.m., Van Waes hadn’t found time to eat a meal.

“We dealt with people trespassing, arrested a gentleman on outstanding warrants who attempted to flee from law enforcement,” he said. “Took an alarm call. Tried to serve some civil papers.”

Sometime in the evening around 5 p.m., Van Waes was notified by a police officer in Gowrie about a wanted subject, Van Waes said.

He was just south of Fort Dodge at the time.

The man had warrants out of Boone and Webster counties for failure to appear, Van Waes said.

“Just as I was getting into town, he fled from the residence on foot,” he said. “We pursued him briefly, then he went back into the residence and barricaded himself inside.”

A short time later, deputies were able to arrest the man.

“Eventually we forced entry and arrested him without further incident,” Van Waes said.

The job is oftentimes unpredictable.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” he said. “You never know how it’s going to play out or what’s going to happen.”

He often thinks of his family.

“It’s different knowing you’re out,” he said. “You could be anywhere. You know your family is at home and don’t have any idea what you’re doing or where you’re at.”