As West ISD Plans Recovery Effort, Teachers Brace For The Long Haul

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email
Teachers in West have kept their shoulders to the grindstone since the deadly April 17 explosion, and that likely won

Many of West's students are attending class in the nearby Connally ISD. (File)

WEST (May 2, 2013)--Imagine losing your home, being displaced at work, and at the same time you have to find the strength to constantly care for dozens of kids on a daily basis.

For some, it sounds like a nightmare, but for many West ISD teachers it's become a reality.

Since the West explosion, West ISD has lost three of its four campuses, students are displaced, and classrooms are bare.

Many teachers' homes are either damaged or destroyed.

For West Elementary School Principal Michele Scott, the aftermath of the West explosion has been a nightmare.

"I feel like it's a bad dream and I'll wake up and it's back to normal," Scott said. "I hope I'll wake up and have a home, but it's just not that way."

West Elementary School teacher Lisa Crowder couldn't agree more.
"At the end of the day, I get in my car and I want to drive home," Crowder said. "But there's not a home to go to. That's really when the reality of all this sets in."

Scott and Crowder live in Zone 3, the most heavily damaged neighborhood in West. Like many in the neighborhood, their homes were destroyed.

Both are now living with family and friends. In the past two weeks, the lives of many West ISD employees have been turned upside down.

But there are also many within the district, like Crowder and Scott, who somehow find the strength every morning to wake up and make a difference at their respective schools.

"This is our salvation, because it's normal," Scott said.

"When you're in the room teaching the kids and we're doing what we always do, you almost forget about the outside world," Crowder said.

Despite the chaos present after the West explosion, West ISD reports that no employees from the district have quit so far.

A long road of recovery is undoubtedly in store for West ISD, yet Crowder and Scott say they're not thinking about that.

They're more focused on the students they'll be in charge of educating in the coming months.

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