2007-08-02 / Front Page

School bells will ring for students Aug. 7

The first day of the 2007-2008 school year for Lincoln County students is Tuesday, August 7. Pictured visiting with Christie Mattison, the new assistant principal at LCES, are: (front row, l-r) Clara Rose Hodnett, Kiersten Banks, Chloe Cliatt, Taylor Thurmond, (back row) Sam Thurmond, and Savannah Cliatt. The first day of the 2007-2008 school year for Lincoln County students is Tuesday, August 7. Pictured visiting with Christie Mattison, the new assistant principal at LCES, are: (front row, l-r) Clara Rose Hodnett, Kiersten Banks, Chloe Cliatt, Taylor Thurmond, (back row) Sam Thurmond, and Savannah Cliatt. Approximately 1,400 Lincoln County students are dusting off their calculators, sharpening pencils, and dragging out their book bags in preparation for Tuesday, August 7, the first day of the 2007-2008 school year.

"We are looking forward to the start of a new school year," said School Superintendent Randall Edmunds. "We are thrilled that all of our schools as well as the system made AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) and expect this to continue in 2007-2008."

In fact, this marks the fifth consecutive year that LCES and LCMS, both Title I schools, have made AYP; the fourth consecutive year for LCHS; and the second consecutive year for the system as a whole.

The Georgia Department of Education recently designated LCES, LCMS, and LCHS as "Schools of Distinction."

In other comments, Dr. Edmunds said, "We probably have the best teachers, administrators, and staff we've ever had. They are all very capable and dedicated. This promises to be an excellent school year."

Concerning additional back-toschool information, the superintendent informed parents and students that breakfast will not be served the first day of school but that the program will resume on Wednesday, August 8, at 7:45 a.m. at LCES and from 7:30 to 7:55 a.m. at LCMS and LCHS.

Breakfast prices will remain the same as last year, with regular breakfasts on both campuses costing 60 cents and reduced breakfasts, 30 cents. Regular lunches will cost $1.20 at LCES and $1.50 at LCMS and LCHS. Reduced lunches will cost 40 cents on both campuses.

In her comments on the first day of school, LCES Principal Marilyn Bell noted that homeroom begins at 8 a.m. "Parents and students may arrive on campus as early as 7:45 a.m. Allow yourself up to 30 minutes to get your child settled in his classroom," she said.

Once again, car riders will unload at the front door of the school, and law enforcement officers will be on hand to direct traffic.

Bell assured new students and their parents that the congestion decreases about two weeks after the beginning of school. Usually, the morning routine for car riders takes five minutes or less.

Likewise, parents need to pick up their child by 3 p.m. each day.

The principal went on to apologize for any inconvenience caused by the reroofing project at the school. "We're asking parents to be patient with us. The project should be completed in the very near future," she explained.

Bell also reminded parents of the open house the school is hosting for grades Pre-K through 5 from 5 until 7 p.m. Monday, August 6. "This is an excellent opportunity for parents and students to meet teachers and tour our campus," she said. "In addition, parents may join the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) at this time."

The administrator then announced that the PTO's "back-to-school meeting" will be held Tuesday, August 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. During the meeting, parents will be briefed on classroom procedures, disciplinary and attendance policies, etc.

In further remarks, Principal Bell said she is eagerly anticipating the beginning of a new school year. "We have a lot of challenging learning opportunities planned for our students, and we're ready to get underway."

One of these challenges is the implementation of another set of Georgia Performance Standards, the new state-mandated curriculum designed to make learning more student centered in all Georgia schools. This year, LCES will be implementing the science standards in grades K-2 and the math standards in grades 3-5.

Commenting on LCES making AYP for five consecutive years, Principal Bell said, "The students, teachers, parents, and administrators are to be commended. It takes all of us working together to achieve our AYP goals - it's truly a group effort."

In conclusion, the principal stated, "LCES is a good school, and we're making a great deal of progress each and every year. We have a long-standing tradition of excellence, and we want to keep that tradition alive. With the help of parents and the people in the community, we can make LCES the best elementary school in Georgia. We very much appreciate the support of our parents and community."

She then encouraged parents to get more involved in their child's education. "Plan to call and visit us often, especially when there is a concern or a question."

Among the new faces that will be seen at LCES this year are Christie Mattison, assistant principal; Kelli Robertson, first grade; Jennie McWhorter, Pre-K; and Lacey Reed and Vivian Jennings, special education.

In news from LCMS, Principal Pam Carmichael informed parents that the school will host its annual open house from 6:30 until 8 p.m. tonight (Thursday). Students and their parents are encouraged to visit the school at this time to meet teachers, obtain class schedules available in the school cafeteria, find out where the various classes are located, purchase P.E. uniforms, and so forth. Parents may likewise join the LCMS PTP (Parent- Teacher Partnership).

She further pointed out that parents also need to make sure their child has had the immunizations necessary to enter middle school as required by state law. Moreover, parents should be aware that the requirements have changed this year. To obtain a listing of the required immunizations as well as proof of immunization, parents should contact their family physician or the Lincoln County Health Department at 706-359-3154.

According to Principal Carmichael, the first day of school will start off with sixth-graders reporting to the cafeteria at 7:55 a.m. to meet their first period teachers and then be escorted to class. To help things move along smoothly, teachers will be on duty beginning at 7:30 a.m. on August 7.

As for upperclassmen, seventh and eighth-grade students are to report directly to their first period class immediately upon their arrival at school; class schedules will be available in the school cafeteria.

Carmichael indicated that regular grade-level orientation will take place during school hours.

Concerning policies and procedures, parents and students should note that the strict attendance policy that was implemented at LCES and LCMS in 2005 is still in effect.

The policy states that a student will not be allowed to miss more than 14 days of school per year. Any student with more than 14 absences may lose credit. These do not include absences approved by the administration or inschool (ISS) or out-of-school suspension.

"There is a direct correlation between good attendance and success at school," said Principal Carmichael. "It is imperative that each student makes every effort to be in class each day."

Regarding other items of information, the principal said the school will implement additional Georgia Performance Standards this year by applying the state's social studies standards in grades 6-8 and its physical science and math standards in grade eight. Last year, the new math standards were introduced in the seventh grade.

The administrator went on to mention that in a departure from years' past, eligibility for extra-curricular activities will be determined by annual grades.

"We are looking forward to a great year," Principal Carmichael stated. "We have an excellent staff that is deeply committed to the education and well-being of our students. We're all excited about the beginning of a new school year."

The new staff members at LCMS this year are Dr. Roderick Hilton, parttime assistant principal; Nancy Pund, special education; Shawn Davis, graduation coach; Lisa Bentley, science; and Billy Kirby, ISS paraprofessional.

In further items of information, it was noted that at both LCMS and LCHS, each student will be issued a student handbook during first period on the first day of school. In addition to serving as a hall pass, the handbook contains information, rules, and policies such as the attendance protocol, the dress code which will remain basically the same as last year, and a revised code of conduct that students and parents should be familiar with.

In fact, parents or guardians are required to sign two special tear-out pages in the handbook and return them to the school. Their signature serves as an acknowledgment that (1) they have read the handbook and the attendance protocol and are familiar with their contents, and (2) they agree to allow their child to use the Internet at school and are acquainted with the rules governing this privilege.

Also, in compliance with a law passed by the General Assembly in 2006, parents who do not want their child to join a school club may make their wishes known by signing the designated form included in the handbook and returning it to the school.

This year, the revised handbook likewise strengthens the penalties for the use of obscene language, indecent exposure, inappropriate public displays of affection, and the possession of cell phones and other electronic devices.

The consequences for possessing a cell phone, an I-Pod, a CD player, etc. on campus are as follows:

First violation - The item will be confiscated and returned to a parent.

Second and subsequent violations - The item will be retained and one day of Saturday School assigned. The device will be given to the parent after the completion of Saturday School.

Third violation - The item will be confiscated for the remainder of the semester.

In other school news, LCHS Principal Becky Barden invited students and their parents to an open house at the high school from 6:30 until 8 p.m. tonight (Thursday). During the evening, students may meet their teachers as well as pick up their class schedules in the foyer next to the front office. In addition, parents may join the LCHS Academic Booster Club at this time.

Also at the open house, seniors may purchase their parking permits from Henry Madden, assistant principal, for $25. In order to purchase a parking permit, a student must have a completed application, a valid driver's license, and proof of insurance.

There are 25 parking spaces near the main building that will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. Others will need to park in the two lots behind Buddy Bufford Field.

Seniors may purchase parking permits through August 10; juniors, August 13-17; and sophomores and others, August 20-24.

Regarding the attendance protocol at LCHS, students with more than eight absences in a class will fail to earn credit for the course unless they are granted approval on appeal, said Principal Barden.

Appeals must be filed no sooner than 10 school days before the end of the semester and no later than the last day of the semester.

It must be mentioned that excessive absences could cause a student to lose his learner's permit or driver's license, his parking privileges, and his right to attend the prom. Also, seniors, who miss more than eight days of school during the spring semester, will not be allowed to march at graduation. They will receive their diploma only after appeal committee recommendations have been met.

In other items of information, Dr. Barden indicated that on the first day of school, students are to report directly to their first period class; class schedules will be available in the foyer.

She noted that for safety reasons, students may gain access to school buildings no earlier than 7:15 a.m.

As was the case last year, automobile traffic in front of the school will be "one way only" from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m. Likewise, traffic behind the cafeteria, where car riders are dropped off and picked up, will be "one way." Parents should allow extra time for increased traffic during the first few weeks of school.

In an effort to relieve traffic congestion behind the cafeteria, the LCHS principal is asking the parents of high school students to drop off and pick up their child in the parking lot behind Buddy Bufford Field.

Dr. Barden went on to remind parents and others who visit LCHS during the school day that they must report to the main office and register as a visitor. "This safety procedure was implemented to protect our students and staff," she stated. "Also, students are not allowed to have visitors or guests at school unless prior approval has been obtained from an administrator."

In addition, in order to check a student out of school, parents, guardians or other designated persons must first report to the main office.

The same policies hold true for LCMS.

Looking toward the new year, Dr. Barden said the faculty and staff at LCHS are anticipating a wonderful school year.

As for the Georgia Performance Standards, the school is set to implement the new social studies standards in grades 9-12.

In further remarks, the principal welcomed the following staff members to LCHS: Tangie McKinney, health careers; Kenn Barnett, social studies; Deborah Deason, Britt McKinney, and Eddie Roberts, special education; Katherine Harper, math; Bryan Godsey, science; Joe Hogan, technology; Sheila Wilkes, language arts; and Mallory Thigpen, P.E.

In conclusion, Dr. Barden encouraged parents to get involved in their child's education and school activities and to talk with their child's teachers and guidance counselor on a regular basis.

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