School starts next week

Posted July 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm

The calendar says we are still in the middle of summer, but that season for around 1,700 children and young adults in Clinton County and many other areas will come to somewhat of a close next week as classes will resume in the Clinton County School District.

The first day of school for students in Clinton County will be next Tuesday, August 6 with a full day of school and according to Superintendent Charlotte Bernard, school officials and staff are prepared and “are excited to get the school year started.”

Although students have enjoyed the past several weeks out of the classroom, most faculty and staff have been working throughout the period in preparing for the next school term, hoping to be better prepared for classroom instruction.

Superintendent Bernard commended Supervisor of Instruction Paula Little for providing professional development for teachers and staff, and thanked everyone, including faculty and principals alike, for their hard work.

This year the district is leading the Healthy Hometown project and also a new state pilot program called Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES), a state pilot program geared toward teacher and administrator evaluations. Little said that PGES will allow “better feedback to teachers to help them prove on providing instruction on a regular basis,” with Bernard adding it was more specific and detailed than previous evaluations.

The school district, including individual school facilities, will see few changes this year from the past, other than the usual staffing changes.

There are seven new teachers in the district this year, including Ginger Davis, district-wide. There are three new teachers at each the middle school–Reshea Norris Fillingham, Chris Marcum and Spencer Parrigin–and the high school, Courtney Claywell, Jonathan Oakes and James Walker.

Bernard said that due to budget restraints, some staff have been shifted somewhat noting, “we have to use our money wisely.”

As far as advice to students and teachers, Little said the staff was excited and that everyone should have a positive attitude going into the coming year and be ready to learn.

Superintendent Bernard again stressed the importance to parents and students that attendance was extremely important and every student, when not sick, should be in school. “Attendance, instruction and grades all go hand-in-hand,” she said, further noting that the district, through Director of Pupil Personnel Julie York, is working to improve attendance district-wide.

As far as the school calendar itself, there will be one somewhat major change, that being the implementation of the Early Release Days, which has been used in some other districts in Kentucky recently.

The Early Release Days are built in once per month with the exception of December and May and for the most part is on the last Wednesday of each month.

During those eight days throughout the school year, students will attend class a half-day, with faculty going a full day.

School officials feel these days will be a benefit to students, parents and faculty alike, as it will allow for example, students to plan ahead and make doctor appointments on those days without having to miss school. Thus, it could also cut down on student absenteeism.

The days could also help teachers who could use the other half of the day for planning, parent conferences and so forth.

Other than the Early Release Days, the 2013-14 year calendar is very similar to years past, with the usual days off for holidays, a week each off for fall and spring break, two weeks for the Christmas holiday and three days off–Wednesday through Friday, for Thanksgiving.

There is also a few days throughout the year for professional development days for staff only.

As far as the tentative calendar stands, barring no missed school days at all, the last day for students would be May 8. However, there are a total of 16 make-up days built into the calendar, but the superintendent hopes that few of those will have to be used and that the close of school for students can still be before Memorial Day.

As always with the start of a new school year, there will be more traffic, including bus traffic, especially in the early morning and mid-afternoon hours, so motorists are reminded to be mindful of buses and student activity on days when classes are in session.

Finally, parents are urged to read the Code of Pupil Personnel, which is sent home to every parent at the start of the school year.

The document has a host of important information, including a full copy of the school calendar, school bus drop-off and pick-up times, as well as what is expected of students throughout the school year.