Beaufort County Schools prep as start of academic year nears

Published 3:38 pm Monday, August 11, 2008

By Staff
Administrators, teachers, staff looking to Aug. 25 start date
Staff Writer
It’s almost time again for local youngsters to put long days filled with slingshots, shady trees and bike rides aside for nine months.
Instead, they’ll be seeing who got the tannest, who has the coolest math teacher and if the chicken patty sandwich is still the best hot lunch.
Local schools start Aug. 25, and preparations are already well underway.
The state recently held its tax holiday to allow parents to buy their children new clothes, notebooks, textbooks and calculators, and administrators, teachers and staff in the Beaufort County Schools have started preparing too.
Two schools will be starting the academic year in new surroundings: John Small Elementary School is moving to a new facility, and the Ed Tech Center will be taking over the old John Small building.
The moves have been a summer project.
The Ed Tech Center will also be playing host to a new program this year, Hodges said.
Pathways is designed to help young people who are drop outs or at least one semester behind in their education graduate with useful skills such as masonry.
The program allows for self-paced learning and has slightly fewer classes than a regular course of study with more emphasis on “hirable” skills, Hodges said.
Like the Ed Tech Center, Rick Anderson is switching buildings this year.
Anderson had been principal at Chocowinity Middle School, but his transition to Southside High School makes him one of three principals settling in at new schools.
He said he’s not doing anything very different to get ready at the new school.
But preparations are under way, he said.
Their official first day is Aug. 18, Hodges said.
But they’re already organizing classrooms, preparing materials and tightening up lesson plans, Anderson said.
And of course it’s not just teachers gearing up for pencils, books, and whatnot.
Support staff is getting set too.
At its last meeting, the Board of Education approved money to get the school busses their regular cleaning.
And custodians are scurrying to get the halls shining like brand new.
That’s particularly a rush at John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School, said principal Bubs Carson, because the school offers a summer enrichment program to about 150 pupils.
But happy though parents may be, custodians have to put it into overdrive to get the floors spic-and-span in the week between the end of summer enrichment and teachers’ return.
But not all support staff positions are filled.
Hodges said anyone interested in driving “big yellow” should call the school’s transportation office.
One certification class for drivers recently took place, and another is planned for September, Hodges said.
And administrators are still making final tweaks to their preparations, too.
Anderson said Southside just finished its students schedules, and Carson said he’s planning to put the finishing touches on Tayloe students’ schedules in the days to come.
The Washington Daily News will be distributing a special back-to-school section Aug. 17. The section will include homeroom assignments and bus routes for the entire school system.
One group of students has already started its academic year. Students attending Early College High School at Beaufort County Community College reported for their first day Thursday.
The students will graduate in five years with both a high school diploma and an associates degree from the community college.
From there, they’ll be able to enter the work force or transfer to a four-year college.