Local News

August 5, 2009

Approach of new school year 'a really good time'

Teachers across Whitfield County are readying their lessons and classrooms for new groups of students for the first day of school on Friday.

“It’s a nervous time for me, but it’s a really good time,” said Vicki Moore, a third-grade teacher at Dug Gap Elementary School who said the start of school still makes her remember the anticipation she felt as a child.

Her solution to helping students settle in is to put them right to work, she said. Doing tasks like organizing books or labeling personal items in groups also helps classmates get to know each other better, she said.

There are about 14,000 students in the Whitfield County Schools system, but officials say they won’t have an exact count until after school begins.

Elementary schools

Cedar Ridge Elementary, a 600-student school finished just weeks ago, will welcome its first students this year. Each of the two floors features four wings with classrooms that open into a square common area rather than a long hallway. The areas will double as both a “hallway” and a gathering place for large groups. There are also an abundance of windows, a multi-purpose area near the cafeteria, several small restrooms with one toilet each rather than large restrooms with several stalls, outdoor areas for study and other amenities.

The biggest renovation was at Dug Gap where over the summer the 1969 building got new flooring, paint, lighting, ceiling and welcome area.

Dug Gap third-grade teacher Adam Yates said he’s especially excited that every classroom in the school will have an active board. The large, interactive, electronic screens allow students to work out problems and games in front of the whole class or allow teachers to demonstrate various concepts to a room full of students.

“We’re trying to communicate to students that ‘this is your school,’” he said. “This is not just our place and you come to it. This is a place for you to belong and we want you here.”

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