To help kindergarten students and families acclimate, Kae Avenue Elementary School will hold an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7.

Classes start Aug. 16 for all students in Whitehall schools except kindergartners, who will begin Aug. 23.

The open house will be especially beneficial this year because of significant changes in the district, Kae Avenue Elementary School Principal Kelly Golsby said.

In response to shifts in the district's enrollment among the three elementary schools and to further improve educational opportunities, administrators developed an early-literacy campus at Kae Avenue Elementary School and the adjacent C. Ray Williams Early Education Center.

Last year, each of three elementary schools housed students in grades K-5.

Prekindergarten students will attend C. Ray Williams, also to be known as Kae Avenue North, and first-grade students will attend Kae Avenue Elementary School (South), Golsby said.

Both schools will have kindergarten students.

Students in grades 2-5 will attend either Beechwood or Etna Road elementary school.

"We are excited to bring all of our pre-K to first-grade students to the same campus, enabling us to be more efficient with our early-literacy resources," said Chris Hardy, coordinator of elementary education.

"This is a great opportunity to create an environment tailored to young students and grow our early literacy teachers together for the benefit of our families."

The district has about 720 students in prekindergarten through first-grade, said Ty Debevoise, director of communications and marketing for Whitehall schools.

C. Ray Williams has been renovated, Golsby said, including new paint and furniture that better suits its repurposed use.

"We've added pastel colors and flexible seating and kind of given the building a face-lift."

A walkway between C. Ray Williams is expected to be completed by Aug. 16, when first-grade students return to school, Golsby said.

"The open house provides not only a chance to see the new schools but to meet new teachers, too," said Golsby, who was principal at Beechwood Elementary School last year. "We will also be serving a lunch, so students and parents can experience it, and there will be buses at the open house."

Free books will be available at the open house to further advance early literacy, Golsby said.

"The open house is a great opportunity for the community to see our new campus and for some kids to get used to a new school," Golsby said.

Also participating in the open house are the Whitehall police and fire departments and Capital University.

Capital students will tutor students at the schools this year, Golsby said.

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