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Schools across county offer programs to aid child learning

As the second week of classes comes to an end for the Butler County public schools, several new programs had become operational.

W.O. Parmer opened the doors this year with four new teachers, a new parking lot, and very few problems.

&uot;The students have been doing great. We had the largest open house we've had in years and I really think that helped,&uot; said Principal Carol Teague. &uot;The first few days were spent learning the basics: names, rules, where places are. Now they're starting to get into the curriculum.&uot;

One of the programs available

at W.O. Parmer is class looping. A looping class will stay together and with the same teacher through two years of school. Parents have the option to request their children be placed into a looping class for either kindergarten to first grade or first to second grade.

&uot;The program allows children to bond to teachers and other children. Teachers know their kids and their academic level. The result is there is less catch-up time in the second year,&uot; said Teague.

Currently, the school offers 12 looping classes.

Four teachers joined W.O. Parmer during the summer: Malichia Moody is teaching second grade, April McNaughton and Jennifer Norman are teaching first grade, and Annie Hildreth is the special needs teacher.

During the summer break, teachers participated in a five-day reading initiative retraining course.

&uot;We also offer a mentor program for the children. Greenville High School students will be coming in to work with the kids. Our kids get a big kick out of that,&uot; said Teague.

Next door at Greenville Elementary, Principal Joseph West welcomed the school's new Reading Specialist, Chrissy Fox.

&uot;For the past two years we've shared a Reading Specialist with W.O. Parmer, but this year we have our own,&uot; said West.

&uot;People don't realize how important it is for a child to be able to read. If a child can't read on his grade level by the third grade, he or she probably will never be able to read well,&uot; says Fox. &uot;Kids need to be exposed to 1,000 books before they will become a reader.&uot;

West said children at the end of the school year that are reading at least one grade level higher are taken to Montgomery for a &uot;Fun Day&uot;.

&uot;We are striving to make them better readers,&uot; said West.

Another program started this year at Greenville Elementary is the &uot;Word of the Day.&uot; Each day, the faculty will select a word for each grade and post it on a board for the kids to see.

In Georgiana, the sixth grade class has been moved from Georgiana High School to R.L. Austin Elementary.

&uot;We now have more students than we've ever had,&uot; says Principal Alton Abrams. &uot;More than 360 students walk these halls, but we're not over crowded.&uot;

This year, R.L. Austin boasts a fresh coat of paint and new wall outlets along with the new grade level and four new teachers.

&uot;The sixth grade coming in n although they were just here last year n has made things very different. I look forward to now being able to sweep all places in the math tournaments,&uot; said Abrams.

Abrams says R.L. Austin offers no athletic programs other than standard Physical Education.

&uot;Our fifth graders have always been our nerds, and our fourth graders are our pre-nerds. Now that we have the sixth grade, they came up with the name super-nerds,&uot; says Abrams.

Abrams pointed out that R.L. Austin has been academically clear since 1998.

New faculty members at the elementary are Ladana Bryd, Betsy Black, Iranelle Cherry and Sandra Peagler.

The principal said, &uot;We are purely academic here. My motto is Educating for Success'. If we don't expose our kids to material now, they won't get it later.&uot;