Our Town: Peosta Elementary is a school filled with new beginnings

A new school year starts in Peosta, but many new students will arrive throughout the year
Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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PEOSTA, Iowa (KCRG) - A new school year is always a time for new beginnings.

But at Peosta Elementary, new beginnings seem to happen throughout the school year.

“When I started here five years ago there were 320 students and now there’s a little over 400,” said Peosta Elementary principal Melissa O’Brien.

Principal O’Brien has been managing growth at a school that not only has new students, but has seen two additions during that same five years.

She and her staff of 65, including 30 certified teachers, said they’re ready for new students throughout the school year.

For Peosta pre-school teachers Abbey Hummel and Emily Brehm, that means making a welcoming first impression on the first day of school, and every day after.

“It is a fun time of the year to start getting a fresh, new everything out and getting ready for the new smiling faces,” said pre-school teacher Emily Brehm.

That growth in new students not only required a bigger building in 2020, it’s forced Peosta Elementary to add classes in every grade level in just the past half-decade.

“Every month we have new students starting, as many as 10 new students starting a month,” said Principal O‘Brien.

That’s a lot of new faces for the school’s music teacher.

“The first day of school is always a magical day,” Melanie Beyerl said.

Beyerl is among the few who need to know every student’s name.

That not only means she sees new faces at the start of the year but throughout the year.

“It’s a growing community.”

But she says so many other students are also recent transplants so the transition is easier.

“These kids have never been to school before, for the most part, so they are so excited to get going and the families are excited too.”

And principal O’Brien said because so many students join the new school throughout the school year, there’s a familiarity among students which makes new arrivals more welcome.

“We have many students whose first year at Peosta Elementary was not pre-school,” she said.”

“They moved here in Second Grade or Third Grade so they know that feeling.”

A small community’s elementary school can be a bond in a community.

At Peosta Elementary School, the students and staff know that’s part of their job.

“Families move here and tell me repeatedly, ‘this feels like home’,” said principal O’Brien.

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