Joplin school district tries to rebuild, reinvent

The twister that laid waste to Joplin last month hit the school system especially hard: It killed seven students and one teacher and destroyed three school buildings, including the only public high school.

Now officials are trying to put the crippled district back in order, with only a couple of months to make sweeping changes before the fall term begins. Many classes will have to meet in vacant buildings. There are also computers to order, furniture to replace, water-logged lesson plans to rewrite — even dirt-encrusted books to salvage.

And the effort goes beyond accommodating students and teachers. In the aftermath, the resurrection of Joplin High and other public schools has become a rallying point for the whole community.