Classes start in Kirkwood: Riverview Gardens transfer students greeted

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI) – The transfer transition played out again Tuesday, this time in the Kirkwood School District.

Kirkwood schools started classes Tuesday with more than 180 transfer students, many from the failing Riverview Gardens School District.

Some of the new students got a rousing welcome from Kirkwood High School seniors when they arrived at the school.

About 40 transfer students from Riverview Gardens arrived at Kirkwood High School to cheers and loud whistles.

Those students were on the very first transfer student bus to arrive in the Kirkwood district and it pulled up ahead of schedule. In fact, it was the first bus to get to the high school at 7:20am.

Riverview Gardens transfer students we talked with are happy to be in Kirkwood.

“I’m excited to come here because the school district that I came from before wasn’t all that good,” said sophomore Riverview Gardens transfer student Cameron Dunn.

Gabrielle Matthews, another sophomore transfer student from Riverview Gardens, added, “I’m excited to be here. It’s a new experience, new people, new classes, like college prep classes and things.”

The welcome was part of a Kirkwood High tradition where seniors gather outside the school on the first day to welcome new students, especially freshman.

This year, it was a boot camp theme complete with camouflage and activities like tire runs for the kids.

“The entire idea behind all of this is to really make people feel welcome. You know we want to have a high energy first day, really get people pumped for the rest of the year,” said Kirkwood High senior Kyle Rieger dressed in his camouflage.

The Kirkwood School District received 184 transfer students: 175 from Riverview Gardens and nine from Normandy. That number could still change.

Kirkwood officials say they hired ten new teachers district wide to try and control class sizes.

“To keep our motto of ‘every student, every day’ it is very key to have low class sizes so our teachers are able to impact each individual student on a daily basis,” said Kirkwood High Principal Mike Havener.

Kirkwood Superintendent Tom Williams said his goal is to make the transfer students feel as comfortable as possible, “We really want them to feel welcome. We want them to have a very smooth transition. We want them to know that they’re part of the Kirkwood school district family.”

As far as transfer student Cameron Dunn is concerned, he wants to learn, “I’m hoping to get the education that I’ve been looking for and get a little challenge so I hope that Kirkwood can do that for  me.”

Most of the Kirkwood transfers are from Riverview Gardens because Kirkwood is one of the two districts where Riverview is paying to bus its students. Mehlville is the other district.

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