Schoolhouse rock

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 2004

On Monday morning, administrators reported things were going &uot;pretty smoothly&uot; for Greenville’s kindergarten-eighth grade students on their first day back to school.

While several parents and students at W.O. Parmer, Greenville Elementary and Greenville Middle School did not register until Monday morning, the majority of students arrived pre-registered, pleased to be reunited with friends and prepared to take on a new year.

A smooth start

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At W. O. Parmer Elementary, Principal Carole Teague said she was &uot;very pleased&uot; with how the school’s Monday morning was going.

&uot;This was a great school opening…things went very smoothly, I think. Of course, we had the normal traffic problems, but nothing out of the ordinary,&uot; Teague reported.

As of 8:45 a.m. Monday morning, W.O. Parmer had enrolled 573 students and &uot;we still have people registering their children,&uot; Teague said.

The principal was pleased to note most of the K-2 students came to school with supplies in hand. &uot;Having the supply lists out early in the local stores has been really helpful – we appreciate that,&uot; said Teague.

Teague added she is grateful for the support her school receives from the surrounding community.

&uot;I think I can say without reservation this community supports the school system here…of course, that’s how it should be. This is our future,&uot; she said with a smile.

‘Glad to be back’

At Greenville Elementary, volunteer parents were busy taking care of necessary office chores on the first day of school. Volunteer Ann Daughtry helped check lunch rosters and monies. She was happy to return to school and so, Daughtry said, were her children.

&uot;We are all glad to be back in school. I’m definitely not one of those parents you hear about who has to drag their kids to school – they look forward to it,&uot; Daughtry explained.

GES Principal Joseph West reported things at his school were going &uot;really well&uot; on Monday morning, once that hectic first half-hour was out of the way. &uot;When you have all the kids in classes by nine o’clock on the first day, with all the parents back home and teachers in charge of the classes, you have got to feel good about it,&uot; West said.

West said Monday morning’s enrollment for grades 3-4 was 425 students, up from 400 students last year. &uot;We’ve had four more come in to register this morning,&uot; he said.

West said he is looking forward to a great year at GES. &uot;We do ask our parents to be supportive; we want them to check on their children’s academic progress regularly,&uot; he said.

West also expressed hope parents would show hands-on involvement in their children’s education.

&uot;Parents just have to come to us and ask, ‘What can we do?’ We can always use more volunteers.&uot;

Students at Georgiana’s R.L. Austin Elementary School sailed into the new year, Principal Alton Abrams reported happily. Plus, the students and faculty had a special treat.

&uot;We have had a great first day of school,&uot; he said. &uot;Everything has gone really well. It was good to see the kids back. We got to do our first welcome on WRLA, the schools television station. We look forward to a great year.&uot;

‘Going according to plan’

By 9:25 a.m., Greenville Middle School hall monitors were clustered in the front hallway, waiting to be clued in on their jobs for the new school year.

GMS Principal Don Yancey admitted it had been a very busy morning &uot;getting everybody situated&uot; at his school. &uot;I don’t think I’ve slowed down since 5:30 this morning,&uot; Yancey said with a weary smile.

The principal said GMS was also experiencing an unusual number of people registering on the first day of school. &uot;Right now, we have guidance offices full of parents registering their children for the first time,&uot; he explained.

While the school had approximately a dozen students withdraw since last year, Yancey said an equal number of new students were registering.

&uot;We have close to 815 students [grades 5-8] right now; by the end of the week I estimate we’ll have 815-820 students enrolled here,&uot; the GMS principal said.

In an effort to help students get back into the school routine, Yancey said the school extended class lengths and also allowed the students more time to get to class on Monday.

&uot;We have our seventh and eighth graders changing classes seven times a day, as opposed to only three times for the fifth and sixth graders, so those older students particularly need time to adjust to the new routine,&uot; Yancey explained.

Overall, Yancey said, the first day of school was shaping up to be a good day. &uot;And it’ll be great by the end of the week,&uot; he said with an optimistic nod, adding, &uot;Everything is going according to plan.&uot;

At Georgian High School, longtime principal Roland Pettie, who has seen his share of students come go said it went smoothly.

&uot;Things have been going well,&uot; he said. We’re just glad to have them back.&uot;

The school in the southern end of Butler County also reported a good first day.

&uot;It really has been a good first day,&uot; Principal Randy Williams said. &uot;Our biggest thing has been getting people in the right classes. We want to have them in the classes they need to learn as much as possible. Another thing we try to do on the first day is get our seniors in the right classes. We want to make sure they are in the classes they need to be ready to graduate when the time comes.&uot;