GALENA, Kans. — As the summer months are coming to a close, classrooms are beginning to open. Galena is one of the first districts to open for the school year.

“Whatever we need to do to help kids be successful currently and in their futures, I mean it always has to be front and center,” said Dr. Trey Moeller, Galena USD 499 Superintendent.

After a fun-filled summer, students are once again returning to classrooms in Galena.

“It’s been a great day so far, some smooth openings and a lot of smiling faces,” said Moeller.

The first day of school has also been the first day of a summer’s worth of work by the district. Through ESSER funding, this year teachers have received a raise and will be coming in early to help develop Galena’s digital approach.

“We’ve made a commitment to using Canvas as our learner management system. Through this process we’re very fortunate to be able to offer some extra time for our teachers to work on those units and make sure that we’re digitally organizing that instruction,” he said.

As far as technology goes, the district says in essence, the schools are now operating at one device per student.

“We certainly have enough devices in our system that if for some reason we’d ever have to go through not being able to attend school on campus, we’d be able to provide devices and send devices home with those students,” he added.

And while a major goal this year has been the prevention of learning loss, the district is also making efforts to help address any personal issues developed over the course of the pandemic.

“The social-emotional aspect of our students, of our staff members, or things that we are and continue to need to pay attention to. We have a full-time licensed counselor that’s available for our students. We’re actually working on securing a second full-time licensed counselor,” said Moeller.