Teachers return to flood-damaged Taylor Elementary - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Teachers return to flood-damaged Taylor Elementary

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by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - It's the first official day for teachers to report at Taylor Elementary School in Cedar Rapids.

The school's future was in doubt after suffering extensive damage in last year's flood.

There were concerns about how many kids would come back.  But K-5 enrollment is already over 200. Some classes even have waiting lists.

And in less than a week, Taylor Elementary will be a functioning school once again.

"It's good," teacher Diana Robeson said. "It feels good to be home."

Taylor has been Robeson's home away from home for the better part of two decades. But this year is very different.

"It is overwhelming," Robeson said. "You are starting over. You're a new teacher."

That's because the longtime Taylor Elementary teacher is returning to the classroom she found in ruins after last year's flood.

"Seeing the things that you've had for over twenty years of teaching just covered with mud and muck...and...It was hard to come back and see your things just covered," Robeson said.

Robeson spent last year teaching at nearby Harrison. She relied on garage sales, Goodwill and donations to replace supplies. But she and many of her colleagues are back and learning to adjust.

"I've had people comment that they see us standing our rooms looking around, going how am I going to arrange it because you don't have all the things you had when you left in the flood," Robeson said.

"I'll be in the office and sitting at the computer working away and then I'm like, I need a break and I love to walk around the building and just see the progress," Taylor principal Brian Christoffersen said.

A lot of work is left to be done. For Christoffersen, there simply aren't enough hours in the day.

"It's probably like preparing for a wedding," Christoffersen said. "It's just crazy all the preparations you do for months and months and then the time comes and it's gonna be what it's gonna be."

Ready or not, school is coming. While it may be stressful, Robeson says it's worth it to be back home.

"Cedar Rapids schools are great and I'm glad they opened us up in this year," Robeson said.

With everything Robeson lost from the flood, one thing survived...her beta fish.

Despite being in a bowl filled with flood water and mud, she says it even lived for several months after the flood.

The first day of school for Taylor Elementary and the Cedar Rapids school district is next Tuesday.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel 

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