Public schools open in weeks; principals back in their offices|[07/08/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It’s not mid-July, but principals in the Vicksburg Warren School District said goodbye to summer vacation and hello to a new school year Monday when they went to their offices to initiate a new schedule to be followed by teachers and students.

Actually, most said they have been in their offices off and on since the last day of classes, May 22, in an attempt to get a head start on the new year.

“I have been in and out of the office throughout the summer,” said Sharon Williams, principal of Vicksburg Intermediate. “But it has been a reward for me to actually get some break time this year. Coming from Warren Central. I am used to working year-round.”

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Williams is beginning her second year as principal of Vicksburg Intermediate and said she will use the upcoming weeks until students report Aug. 4 – the earliest date ever – to make sure she is prepared for the year.

“We have a lot to do to get ready, but we will definitely be ready,” Williams said. “Over the next weeks we will be making sure the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted.”

The principals officially start three weeks before teachers report for their first official day of work on Aug. 1. During that time, most will be working on class schedules, professional To enrollFor enrollment for the school year beginning Aug. 5, a public school student should:Phone the Vicksburg Warren School District at 601-638-5122 to determine the school a student will attend or, if that is known, go to the school. Take the student’s birth certificate, Social Security card, two proofs of legal residence, immunization records and withdrawal records if the student is transferring. Complete paperwork at the school or return it to the school.Approved Bonus Week Calendar 2008-2009development, ordering textbooks and setting up rooms as well as computers. Many, including Ethel Lassiter, principal at Dana Road Elementary, have added improvement planning to their to-do list.

“We are planning something new this year,” Lassiter said. “It will be a parent-teacher workshop that will be held one Saturday every month for parents of students who are pre-kindergarten through third grade.”

The workshop will be a review session during which methods for assisting children with their curriculum will be discussed and a packet of materials designed to help the students with their classwork will be distributed. The workshops will last about two hours and will include breakfast.

“It will provide assistance for students who need extra help as well as for parents who are not sure how to help their children,” Lassiter said. “We’d love students to come to the workshops as well. We want it to be a warm and friendly atmosphere so everyone can feel comfortable saying they need help.”

Lassiter also said she is excited about the overall schedule to be followed by all schools and all grades in the district. The calender retains four nine-week sessions, but adds a one-week intercession break between each. That time can be used to remediate students who have fallen behind during the previous nine weeks. For students who have mastered the material covered in each nine-week period, it will be vacation.

“I am anticipating a rewarding academic school year whereby instituting the intercessions will provide additional academic preparedness for our students. We are on to new and better things,” Lassiter said. “I have a positive outlook for 2008-2009.”

Officials are hoping to add extracurricular activities and field trips to the schedule eventually; for now they are concentrating on remediation. The new intercession schedule will also eliminate summer school in the elementary schools and will change only the scheduling of breaks, not the number of days students attend school. Traditional breaks at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and spring break are retained through the year that ends with the last day of classes on May 29.

Edward Wiggins, principal at Warren Central Intermediate, is also excited about the new schedule.

“It is optimal for both teachers and children,” Wiggins said. “Teachers can reflect and identify what they need to change and students can get the help they need. It is just win-win and that is what it is all about – a level playing field.”