In the 12 weeks since the tornado ravaged Joplin, there’s been a time for everything: A time to look for the survivors, and then a time to look for the dead. A time to pile up the ruins of homes, and then a time to clear them away.

Now, on Wednesday, in one of the most emotional milestones on this city’s road back from a catastrophe that killed 160 and damaged or destroyed almost 8,000 homes and businesses, it’ll be time for thousands of the city’s kids to get back to school.

“Many families lost their homes, lost their jobs — but still have their mortgages — and they just want their kids to be in school,” said Jeremy Schamber, principal of Martin Luther Christian School.

Martin Luther, partially damaged in the storm and still not fully repaired, served as a full-blown recovery center over the summer. Staff had to scramble this week to shift to accommodating students and teachers, some of whom lost everything.

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