Eau Claire (WQOW)- Teachers in Fall Creek are returning to the classroom. To welcome them back, the school is rolling out the red carpet.
"To have kids line up and scream your name and to make you feel like that's where you want to be, that's a really powerful feeling," says Fall Creek School District Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo.
"What you need on that first day is to re-clarify the mission of why you're here," says Toby Jacobson, a 6th grade math and science teacher at the school. "I felt like today, getting an opportunity to see some of the students that will be here in our building was a really good reminder of what we're all about."
Some teachers say morale was lowered by the state's collective bargaining debate, an issue that made national headlines. A number of teachers around Wisconsin drew criticism for bringing their negotiation issues into the classroom and skipping school days to protest.
"I think that was a decision that every individual teacher made. Here at this school, we didn't have issues with having to shut down the school or anything like that. I don't even know if there were really any teachers here who left during their contract days to go down there," Jacobson says.
As teachers prepare for students to arrive, this year there are changes including financial ones.
"We'll all take a cut in pay this year and we'll feel that in the pocketbook. But, ultimately, this isn't a job that any of us are doing because we decided to get rich," responded Jacobson.
Despite the concerns, school officials are convinced this will be a successful school year.
"I think that it definitely is a morale-builder, but it's not something that we did just simply because of some morale issues that happened throughout the state," says Jacobson.
"We want people to feel excited. We want people to feel valued," Sanfelippo says. "If you can get people to feel excited and valued about their craft, you can do some amazing things."
Monday was an in-service day at Fall Creek, which included meetings for teachers and a chance to prepare their classrooms. The first day of school is Thursday.