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Principal Seth Moldovan expects at least 614 students or 58% to arrive at the new Verde K-8 school Monday. “We’re prepared,” he said on a tour of Palm Beach County district’s first new school, one of three in Boca Raton.

Verde students spent last year in the temporary school off Military Trail. Now they’ll find a new school logo. There’s T-shirts for sale in the office. And a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote in the lobby: “What Lies Behind You and What Lies in Front of You Pales in Comparison to What Lies Inside of You.”

All district students returned with distance learning on Aug. 31. Teachers were back in their classrooms at Verde last week with visible changes for Covid. Two large flat-screens kept online learning going as an option for parents. Now she’s tech savvy, said third-grade teacher Jennifer Frazier.

Verde was a grade school rebuilt as a K-8. But the middle school grades will come later. “We’ll add seventh and eighth in the next two years,” Moldovan said.

Three buildings on the campus can eventually accommodate 1,350 students, he said. The two-story main building even has an elevator with a sign: one person at a time.

The old building was razed and bricks were saved in a circle on the main courtyard. The new Verde looks like a traditional school building upgraded with new furniture the newest technology and upgrades.

Shelving with books in the media center are on rollers. Water fountains are hands free and kids can refill water bottles. There’s plug-ins for laptops everywhere. Cafeteria tables are socially distanced. Some were even on stage. Classrooms have movable desks, some high-tops. K thru 5th grade classrooms even have their own bathroom.

The campus has 70 acres and lots of outdoor space for recess and PE. Moldovan encouraged visitors to see the view with playgrounds and shade trees.   “It reminds me of a high school,” vice principal Linden Codling said about the sprawling campus.

Five school buses are assigned to Verde. There’s no openings for teachers, Moldovan said. But there’s a link to substitute teacher openings on the new Verde website. https://vrde.palmbeachschools.org/

Addison Mizner School was also demolished and that rebuild comes next. So those students are the second to attend the temporary school. Their new K-8 is expected to be ready for 2021’s new semester. Then the temporary campus will be cleared and a new grade school will go up on the site.

By Marci Shatzman

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