RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — School starts for Rapid City students and teachers in two weeks.

Pretty soon, students will be filling these halls. Teachers and staff across the district are getting their classrooms ready to go.

“That’s what makes a school, is just having everybody in here, it feels alive,” Principal Conrad said.

The Rapid City Area School District is made up of 13,000 students. It consists of 23 schools including West Middle School.

Principal Daniel Conrad is excited for the year ahead.

“There is a lot of exciting new things this year with the Rapid City Area Schools emphasizing community and relationships throughout the District. Here, we are always striving to improve student achievement and we are going to do that through the community and school spirit this year,” Principal Conrad said.

However, the district is also facing some challenges, including a major staff shortage.

“We have a significant need for paraprofessionals. We have 50 of those positions open, lunch nutritionists. We need bus drivers, we need paras and there is a shrinking pool of people who want to be teachers so we have education positions open as well,” Nicole Swigart, Interim Superintendent, said.

By adjusting and keeping spirits high, Interim Superintendent Nicole Swigart is hopeful it will be a great school year.

“I am honored to have this opportunity that the school board gave me to step in this year. I have three focuses that I am working on with my approach to this position and those are communication, appreciation, and education,” Swigart said.

Schools in the Rapid City District will start on August 30th. Training and orientation for some schools have already started.