Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TOP STORY >>First day of school fares well

By HEATHER HARTSELL AND JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writers

The start of school this week went smoothly for the Cabot School District, according to Superintendent Tony Thurman.
The district’s schools reported a total of 9,050 students Monday for the first day of school, compared to last year’s first day total of 8,694.

Thurman said the second day usually brings an increase of about 50 students, but this year’s second day of school total was 9,109.

Traffic posed a problem at some campuses, but, as Thurman said, a lot of it was caused by people who had parked their vehicles to take their children into classrooms Monday morning.

A few traffic issues were seen at the new Stagecoach Elementary, but again, mostly because of parents taking children to their classes instead of dropping them off.

Because of sign-in procedures for pre-kindergarten students, who started school Tuesday, more cars were seen parked at Central, Westside, Northside and Ward Central elementaries on the second day of school. Central has seven pre-kindergarten classes this year, a total of 120 students; the three other elementaries each have two classes.

Moving the roughly 1,200 Junior High North students to the high school campus went well, Thurman said and actually helped the traffic flow along North Lincoln.

He said congestion around the high school was namely because of all the traffic in the general area.

The district is also looking at solutions for the traffic flow around Northside Elementary.

“We needed to see the flow and now that we have we can come up with some options,” Thurman said.


LONOKE DISTRICT

Enrollment at Lonoke School District could be down 64 students from last year, using preliminary first-day counts, according to Superintendent Sharron Havens, but no one takes student numbers too seriously until after Labor Day. “It’s hard to find everyone,” she said, especially with new classes and classrooms in the district’s rehabilitated “new” vocational classroom building.

The teachers had a very good in-service training, she said. “Everything went very smoothly,” including pickup of students from the primary and elementary school buildings.

“We’re always looking for bus drivers,” she said. Of the new teachers, “We feel good about them. I got by all their classrooms.”

With middle school students in the new school since last winter, the district rehabilitated several rooms of the old Carver Middle School into the region’s first public vocational school, with classes in auto-collision repair, collision shop, health professions, special services and also classrooms for students needing extra attention and for those serving in-school suspensions.


PCSSD

At Pulaski County Special School District, “So far everything is going according to plan with no mishaps,” according to Carletta Wilson, director of community affairs.

“We’re looking forward to a wonderful year. I haven’t heard of any problems with kids getting on and off the buses,” Wilson said. “A few of the new students had to be instructed what bus to ride.”

She said neither the students nor the teachers were looking dazed or confused.