LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - School bells will be ringing for students at Lawton Public Schools on Thursday. While students may not be ready for summer vacation to end, custodians and teachers are waiting to welcome back students with waxed floors, clean classrooms, new carpet, and a year of learning.
For 10 years James Suttles has served as the Assistant Head Custodian at Tomlinson Middle School, making sure the school is clean. On the last day in May of school, he and 6 other custodians start getting ready for the next school year. They set a goal to have everything ready by the first week in August.
"Everything comes out of the classroom, we scrub the walls, we do the light fixtures, we do the glass and clean the glass in the classrooms, we scrub the floors, then we wax them, they stay waxed for a couple of days. Then we put everything back into the classroom and that is for every classroom," said Suttles.
Besides cleaning the school, he helps students with challenges they face.
"With all kids coming in especially sixth grade they are not use to lockers, and they don't know how to open their lockers so me, and my custodian staff, the counselors and teachers we just constantly going through opening up lockers showing them how to do it," said Suttles.
Over at Pat Henry Elementary School, custodians have also been working hard. The hallways have brand new carpet, and the floors are freshly waxed.
First graders Sophie and Caitlin have helped reading specialist Kathleen Fitzgerald all summer by organizing and shelving books.
"We teach reading in the room all day long, and these are our reading recovery books we use them in first grade to teach the first graders reading. The girls are very helpful, they like to make matches and I put them to work," said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald has also cleaned and decorated the classroom to make the students feel welcome. Second grade teacher Shellbie Morales has spent the last month making sure her classroom is ready.
"I've been de-cluttering, decorating, organizing, just trying to get it perfect for when my second graders come in," said Morales.
Everybody on staff looks forward to the new school year.
"I'm so excited to see my kids, and get those morning hugs from them," said Morales.
"I'm so excited to see the kids on Friday, and just do what I do everyday," said Fitzgerald.
"I'm looking forward to the kids coming in and having a good time, and understand that Tomlinson Middle School is a clean school its a good school, the teachers are lovely, this is one big happy family here," said Suttles.