Leader Blues

Friday, August 25, 2006

TOP STORY >>CJHN classes are delayed until Sept. 5

IN SHORT: First day of classes for seventh and eighth graders are put off until after Labor Day.

By SARA GREENE
Leader staff writer

Seventh and eighth graders displaced when a faulty light fixture started a fire that consumed Cabot Junior High North Aug. 10 won’t start classes until Tuesday, Sept. 5 because district workers won’t be able to have 20 portable buildings set up in time. Roughly 1,250 students attended classes in the $9 million, eight-year-old Junior High North building.

“It’s been a tremendous amount of work, and we’d like to take more time and be sure everything’s ready,” said Frank Holman, superintendent for the district.

“We’re not talking about just parking them. There are lots of rules and regulations to follow. They have to be so far apart. There has to be a fire lane. They have to be safe,” Holman said.

The district plans to evacuate the students to permanant buildings when storms are in the area, he said.

The last trailer was delivered Thursday afternoon. Each trailer has to be firmly anchored between rgw tennis courts and the gym on the Cabot Junior High North campus. After the trailers are anchored, workers will hook up electricity to each classroom, construct wooden, handicapped-accessible walkways and stock the buildings with desks, books, computers and other materials.

“It’s been a Herculean effort to get those buildings brought in and set up,” said Brooks Nash, board member and chair of the district’s buildings and grounds committee.

On Monday, ninth-grade students will start attending classes in four portable buildings on the Cabot High School campus. Ninth-graders will be attending some classes in the old high school business and science buildings as well as using the new high school library. Ninth graders will have lunch in the high school cafeteria, after high schoolers finish, from 12:39 to 1:19 p.m.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students will eat lunches brought from Cabot Middle School North. Students will eat either in the gym or in the classrooms.

“It’s been a tragedy, but our teachers have a ‘can-do’ attitude,” said David Hipp, president of the Cabot Board of Education.
Many of the computer records lost in the fire were backed up and will be restored to teachers’ computers. Ninth-grade teachers are getting new computers. Seventh- and eighth-grade teachers will be getting laptop computers for their classrooms.

In addition to any fundraising efforts from the community, the district is giving each Cabot Junior High North teacher $650 to spend on classroom materials.

Replacement algebra, geometry and other math textbooks have been delivered and 453 graphing calculators have been ordered for math classes. The school’s inventory of library books will likely be filled from donations or used booksellers.

Classroom novels including “Stargirl,” “The Outsiders” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” have been ordered for students.

Cabot Junior High South is donating 100 Earth science books and 149 life science books to the school. Other science materials and textbooks are being ordered as well as social studies texts for Arkansas history, American history, geography and civics.

The principals for Cabot Junior High North have moved into the principals’ building on the Cabot High School campus. All students will be checked in and out of school through the principals’ building. All Cabot Junior High North telephone numbers have been transferred to the principal’s building as well.