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Educators reporting smooth start to school year

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POSTED: September 22, 2007 5:04 a.m.
Schools across the county are sending progress reports home today showing students’ progress.
With the first month of the 2007-08 school year crossed off the calendars, county schools have progress of their own to report.
Dr. Chris Garretson, Snelson-Golden Middle School principal, described the new year at the middle school as “going along pretty well” with “some bumps along the way with getting school uniforms.”
The first year with the new Student Uniform Dress Code Policy in effect brought up issues that were not initially considered and the policy was amended on Aug. 15.
SGMS’s principal cites “concerns over the belts and shoes” and other “little things we really weren’t anticipating.”
Garretson has noticed a change in the students’ behavior and attributed it to the uniforms. He explained how teachers and administrators were “not dealing with the he said/she said.”
“With uniforms coming, kids seem a lot calmer,” Garretson said.
Even the youngest of school-aged children have coped with the changes of the uniforms.  Frank Long Elementary Principal Scott Carrier said the school year is “off to a very good start.”
He described FLE students as “adjusting very well (to the new policy).”
“We had almost full compliance from the first day,” Carrier said.  
The uniform policy includes a procedure for non-compliance.  The plan outlines actions to be taken at five levels if a student is found to be in violation of the policy.
In accordance with the dress code policy pamphlet, a uniform closet is in place at every school.
Carrier said the uniform closet has already been put to use with the “occasional change here or there.”
The non-compliance procedure has also been used, but Carrier notes how it has not been required to go past step one.  
He said the new uniform policy indirectly addresses questions that the old dress code policy presented.
“The gray area has been eliminated with faculty deciding what is appropriate and what’s not,” he said.  “Less instructional time is lost now and we can focus time and energy on instruction.”
High school students, grades 9-12, don’t have to wear uniforms, but still had requirements to meet.
Dr. Vicki Albritton, principal at Bradwell Institute, made it a point to address the entire student population of approximately 1,900 students in “expectations and standards meetings.”
She spoke to the students in six separate “small groups so they’ll listen.”  In the meetings she explained what was expected in areas such as dress code and behavior.
Dress has not been the only issue she has dealt with at the school. Construction at her school is nearing completion,  and Albritton is pleased with its progress.
The completion of A and E wings allowed for 35 new classrooms.  She admits it was scramble when the day before school rolled around and the new classrooms still had to be furnished with desks, but the students and teachers are reaping the rewards.
“For the first time in a long time we have no floaters,” she said.  “Every teacher has a classroom and that in itself is amazing.”    
“We’re off to an exciting and positive start,” Albritton said.
 

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