Breaking News
More () »

West Des Moines schools in need of more crossing guards

Schools around West Des Moines are in need of more crossing guards this school year.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — School is back in session for the year and kids are hitting the books, but to be able to do that, they need to be able to make it to school safely.

That's why a crossing guard shortage in West Des Moines Community Schools is a concern.

Crossroads Park Elementary School sits off Woodland Avenue. Many students who walk to the school need to cross either 50th Street or Ashworth Road, a literal crossroads that can be very busy in the mornings and afternoons. 

"Priority is getting kids to and from school safe every single day. And it takes a lot of different people to make that happen,” said Tricia Kurtt, principal of Crossroads Park Elementary. 

And crossing guards are an important part of school safety.

"They are watching the kids to make sure they're crossing safely,” Kurtt said. “But they're also teaching the kids kind of how to follow the adults or the signs around so that they can do it on their own, even if they're not traveling to and from school."

But this year, there have been some issues hiring enough crossing guards to make sure that every kid makes it safely across the street and into school. 

The school district uses All City Management Services to hire and staff crossing guards.

Local supervisor Aaron Mortenson said his roster is not where he'd like it to be. 

"Right now, ever since the pandemic, we have had a shortage of guards,” Mortenson said. “And so now I'm trying to get our roster filled back up. Basically, it was kind of a struggle last year too. So, we're still recovering from that as well."  

Mortenson said the job is relatively easy and perfect for retirees, like Jon Larson. 

"Well, I retired and I kind of wanted something to do. And I saw an ad once for West Des Moines,” Larson said. “So, I thought, this might be good retirement job, plus it's rewarding. Get the kids across the street, so nobody gets hit." 

Larson has been working as a crossing guard for nearly 13 years now. 

"I just enjoy doing it and I enjoy the kids; you get to know the kids and they get to know you,” he said.

Service like Larson's and other crossing guards is greatly appreciated by school staff. 

"We love the fact that they are there because they are the first smiling face, they are the first welcoming voice that our students experience in the morning,” Kurtt said. “And that really helps set a great tone for the day."

Mortenson is still looking to hire about four more alternate crossing guards, to join the 16 currently on staff.

People interested in the position can call either 515-735-0459 or 1-800-540-9290 to apply.

Before You Leave, Check This Out