NEOSHO, Mo. — Some Neosho students are experiencing something new this week at a new school.

“I’ve moved classrooms and I’ve moved schools. So, this is just an amazing opportunity,” said McKinzie Cooper-Kunard, Rise Teacher.

Kunard is glad to be back in the school routine — but this year a very different kind of routine.

“It’s more hands-on. We have more project-based learning that will eventually adventure to a and there’s just more hands-on with science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics,” she said.

She’s one of the teachers at the new Rise Academy…a longtime Neosho building now remade for education.

“Monday was the first day of school. We spent all last week 12 to 15-hour days getting the building ready and moved in. And the kids came Monday and it’s been great the whole week,” said Satotha Burr, Rise Elementary Principal.

It’s a STEAM elementary school, short for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Along with grade-based classrooms, the new school features a maker space and specialty classrooms where kids can work on things like coding and robotics.

“We actually partnered with Pitsco out of Kansas. And we have purchased some resources that will look completely different than any other elementary that we’ve been used to,” said Burr.

School leaders say the goal is building a better future for students.

“The end product is successful members of society in whatever they choose to do. Engineering, teaching, medical field, Biotech careers. So whatever they see themselves doing down the road,” said Burr.

Rise Elementary has 230 students from across the Neosho School District — who were chosen by lottery. The school has students kindergarten through 4th grade and the district has long-term plans to expand STEAM options to 5th through 12th grade.