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Long County kids head back to school
off buses
Students step off buses at MES and LCMS Friday, ready to start a new school year. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Long County public schools began the 2019-2020 school year early Friday morning. Skies were overcast, but teachers at McClelland Elementary School greeted students with wide smiles. Some held up signs that read, “You look amazing today,” and “We’re glad you are here,” in the hallways and on school sidewalks welcoming new and returning students to school.

MES principal Wregina Carryl is a familiar face at the school, which opened for the first time last year. Carryl served as assistant principal at MES during the 2018-2019 school year. She’s been employed by the Long County School System for 20 years, as a classroom teacher and as an instructional coach. She served at Walker Elementary prior to her tenure at MES.

“We have such a great staff here at MES and this is just home for me,” Carryl said.

She explained that the school plans to implement more STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – curricula this year and expand STEM during the next several years. These subjects will be incorporated into students’ daily lessons, hands-on activities and labs, according to the principal.

“This year our third grade students are beginning to explore STEM. It is our goal to be a STEM certified school within the next 3 to 5 years. So that’s one of our big initiatives for this year,” Carryl said. “Our school theme is ‘well grounded.’ Erosion is a big problem and so our students are going to dig in and help (find ways to prevent) erosion.”

Carryl said MES teachers are highly skilled at keeping students engaged.

“They are well equipped and we have tons of resources to make sure that they can do that.”

McClelland Elementary serves students in 3rd through 5th grades. Long County Middle School, which is housed at the opposite end of the 215,000-square foot building that also houses MES, serves students in 6th through 8th grades. MES and LCMS are on a 75-acre site located between Elim Church Road and Highway 84 in Ludowici.

Students in Pre-K, and Kindergarten through second grade attend Smiley Elementary located on Georgia Highway 57. Long County High School serves students in ninth through 12th grade, and also has a Pre-K classroom within the high school. LCHS is adjacent to Smiley off Georgia Highway 57.

ELT teacher
ELT (Extended Learning Time) teacher Julia Smiley holds up a sign to welcome students to McClelland Elementary School Friday morning. - photo by Denise Etheridge
parents walk
Parents walk their children to their classes the first day of school in Long County. - photo by Denise Etheridge
enter McClelland
Children wearing new clothes and back packs enter McClelland Elementary Friday. - photo by Denise Etheridge

VIDEO: McClelland first day of school

By: Lewis Levine
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