Forest Grove Elementary opens for first day of school

The new school was built to accommodate to the population growth in Bettendorf and Leclaire.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 6:05 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Hundreds of students throughout the Quad Cities went back to school on Monday, including those in Davenport, Bettendorf, Clinton, and Pleasant Valley.

For about 250 students at Forest Grove Elementary School, it wasn’t just a first day of school. It was also their first time to sit and learn at their new school! While first-day jitters were there for many, students and staff say it was an exciting start to the day.

The new school was built to accommodate to the population growth in Bettendorf and Leclaire.

Jenny Umland has been a teacher with the Pleasant Valley District for 24 years and says having an up-to-date classroom has been a “dream” instead of having to bring old materials from year to year, not knowing what to do with them.

The new school offers a big outdoor space for recess, a spacious cafeteria, and an up-to-date classroom. Plus, outside there are tennis courts and pickleball courts for community use.

Students from four Pleasant Valley Schools make up Forest Grove, allowing the chance to make new friends. Cole Heckroth just entered third grade and said he was ‘a little nervous” because of meeting so many new people, but it’s been nice to have more space and see new faces.

In Iowa schools, face masks can be recommended. Pleasant Valley school officials say about half of the students there were wearing face masks. Umland says she’s trying not to draw too much attention to face masks but made sure to make the point to be “respectful to those wearing a mask and to those who aren’t. And we’re moving on.” She’ll also remind students to remember what their parents asked of them.

While there may be some uncertainty, students and teachers say they’re happy to be back in school. “We see kids throughout the community in the summer but when they want to be in school and want to learn, that’s what makes this job rewarding,” says Umland.

School officials say the school has so much space it will allow them to add new classrooms in the future.

As a reminder, police want you to keep an eye on school speed zones. officers will be out monitoring those areas and conducting special traffic enforcement. The school speed zone on the Iowa side is Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m.

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