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Liberty, Long public schools soon to be in full swing
open  houses
A mom and her two kids come out of a classroom at Joseph Martin’s open house on Friday afternoon. - photo by Lainey Standiford

Children in Liberty and Long counties are headed back to school on Monday, Aug. 6

The districts’ open houses were held Thursday and Friday. The Courier staff visited public schools during these open houses. 

Liberty County School System

The first day of school is Aug. 6. DayOne activities at Liberty County schools start at 7 a.m. for elementary schools and 7:30 a.m. for middle and high schools.

The DayOne program is a back-to-school initiative sponsored by school systems across the nation to support students in their academics at the beginning of the year.

Dr. Franklin Perry, Superintendent of LCSS, outlined a bright year for students in his welcome back letter.

“This school year promises to be exciting and it is my expectation that success will happen in each classroom every day for every child,” he said.

Liberty County Schools are implementing new instructional initiatives this year, Perry said. The district is utilizing a K-2 Phonics program, personalizing learning to promote differentiation and real-time assessments, improving co-teaching models, motivating students to take responsibility for their success, and using data analysis of attendance, discipline and academics for students to succeed, he said.

Crane said the district is projecting 10,000 students this year, but more are registering every day. The mission of LCSS is providing all students an education which promotes excellence, good citizenship and a love of learning, Perry stated in his letter.

“With all of us working in harmony and unity, failure will not be an option for any of our students,” Perry said.

Long County School System

Preschoolers entering the Pre-K classroom at Long County High School during an open house Thursday were wide-eyed and shy, until they discovered some of the toys. Then, they relaxed and played, while their parents spoke with teachers.

Twenty-two children are typically served at the high school’s Pre-K classroom, said LCHS principal Sherry Lester. The classroom set-up at the high school helps give high school students enrolled in the early childhood education pathway hands-on experience, she said.

These teenagers are known as “big friends,” and they assist with children in the Pre-K class, explained Pre-K teacher Kristie Garcia. Big friends study early childhood development from birth to age 5, and use the Pre-K class as a lab, Garcia said. 

Likewise, the pre-school students benefit from having a class located at the high school. In addition to engaging with big friends, the children have taken in-school field trips, such as visiting the LCHS agriculture class to plant trees and learning about instruments in the high school’s jazz room. They also got to see a shark dissection in the science lab, Garcia said.

The pre-schoolers at the high school also participate in Homecoming, with a prince and princess chosen each year, she said.

Garcia said the Pre-K Center is situated behind Smiley Elementary School. Eight classes are taught there.

There was a lot of activity inside and outside of McClelland Elementary School Thursday. Construction workers continued to work on the grounds away from the school building as parents and students arrived for an open house. Staff directed cars and vans to available parking spaces as Long County Sheriff’s deputies controlled traffic coming and going to the school off of the Elim Road entrance. Long County School Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters previously said the new school building would be ready for faculty and students for the start of the school year, but stressed some projects, like landscaping, would take time to complete.

McClelland Elementary School principal Lisa McCallister and her faculty greeted students and parents as they entered the new school. One little girl wearing a large white bow in her fine hair sniffed at the air and told her mother, “This new school smells good.” 

“We had parents here 30 minutes early,” instructional specialist Kay DeLoach said. “So we let them start coming on in and meeting their teachers.”

DeLoach and McCallister said there’s been a lot of excitement among faculty, parents and students about the new school.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Marilyn Hicks, mother of a fourth-grader and a Long County school bus driver. “I’m expecting and praying for a great year.”

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