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School starts back for area students

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Some things have changed since the final school bell rang. Read up to see what information you need to know before your children file back on the school buses.

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Pre-K teacher Tiffany Shelton organizes her classroom in preparation of the first day of school at Garrett Elementary School.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Pre-K teacher Tiffany Shelton organizes her classroom in preparation of the first day of school at Garrett Elementary School.

First Days:

August 7 - Columbia County

August 10 - McDuffie County

August 13 - Richmond County

August 20 - Aiken, Edgefield counties

Registration

Parents must register their elementary and middle school children prior to the first day of classes at the school the child will attend. Registration will be Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It ensures your child’s information is up-to-date with the school and alerts the registrar your child will attend. Parents should bring last year’s report card, verification of address, an updated health card and any notification of re-take tests over the summer.

Having the correct phone numbers and contact information on file is what can make or break the flow of the first week of school, said student services director Carol Rountree.

At registration, parents will receive the code of conduct book, a school calendar, the homework policy and other information.

“It makes the first day so much smoother when the registration occurs because class rosters can be verified and teachers know to accept certain students,” she said.

If a parent is unable to attend registration, contact your child’s school to make arrangements prior to the first day of classes.

Transportation

Richmond County Schools Transportation Director Jimmie Wiley said his staff is working hard to not repeat the route delays and confusion that occurred the first week of last school year.

Drivers, including 25 new employees who are in the training process now, practiced driving their routes last week to prepare.

“Our goal for the 2012-13 school year is to get our kids to school on time,” Wiley said. “This year we are targeting breakfast time as opposed to bell time. That means we are going to get the kids there, but they have to get up early, too.”

Wiley said there are no drastic changes to the routes this year. Parents have several ways of finding their child’s route: 1) route information is given to all parents on registration day. 2) The school system is launching a web feature Monday, where parents can enter their home address to find route times and locations. The link will be on the homepage of rcboe.org. 3) Parents can call the transportation department at (706) 796-4777.

The system for transporting magnet school students, which began last year, will remain the same. Magnet students will take a bus to their zone high schools. They will then get a shuttle bus from the high school to their magnet school. Students are responsible for understanding which bus to catch and the times of the shuttle.

Reminders from Wiley:

-It is illegal for a parent to board a bus to talk to a driver

-Make sure your home contact information is up-to-date with your school

-Don’t crowd buses at the stops

-Be patient. “We’re trying to have a good school year, but there will always be things you have to work out the first few weeks,” he said.

School lunch

School lunches will cost more this school year.

The Richmond County Board of Education voted in July to raise prices to offset the more expensive meal plan under the federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act as well as rising insurance costs for classified employees.

Prices are as follows:

Students                 2010     2011     2012

Elementary            $1.50    $1.85     $2

Middle/High          $1.75     $2.15     $2.25

Adults                     2011      2012

Breakfast                $2         $2.25

Lunch                      $3         $3.25

New faces

Several schools have new leadership this year. Here are the schools with new principals:

Glenn Hills Elementary: Bernard Chatman

Hephzibah Elementary: Timothy Jones

Copeland Elementary: Kimberly Davis

Academy of Richmond County: Malinda Cobb

Glenn Hills High: Charles Givens

Tubman Education Center: Wayne Frazier

Orientations

Orientation is a way to get familiar with your new school, teachers and policies. Here are the dates and times of the meet and greets. Orientation takes place at each individual school.

Monday, 6 p.m.: Lucy C. Laney High School Advanced Placement and freshman orientation

Monday, 9 a.m. to noon: Westside High School freshman orientation

Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m.: Middle School Orientation for sixth graders and new students

Thursday, 6 p.m.: Academy of Richmond County orientation

Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.: Cross Creek High School freshman orientation and Commitment to Graduate

Friday, 6 to 8 p.m.: Elementary school open house

Immunizations

Parents have 30 days until after the start of school to get their child’s vaccinations up to date. But go ahead and get it over with, said Purity Cummings, the child/adolescent health clinic nurse manager at the Richmond County Health Department.

The health department is holding a Back to School Clinic every weekday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Friday.

Parents should check with their physician to see which immunizations are needed. But Cummings explained most of the requirements like this:

-Children entering pre-kindergarten or kindergarten must have a 3300 form filled out, which is a hearing, vision and dental screening.

-These shots are due by the time a child turns age 4. Many children already have these shots, but some could be missing vaccines that are required to enter school, Cummings said:

-- Four to five doses of DTaP

-- Four doses of polio

-- Two doses varicella

-- Two doses MMR

-- Four to five pneumococcal

-- Two hepatitis A

-- Four Hib

Parents with children going into fifth grade or turning age 11must make sure their child has already had a second dose of the Chicken Pox vaccine, aka varicella. Cummings said many children receive the second dose at 4 years old, but parents must be sure.

These vaccines are not required for school but are recommended by medical professionals by 11 years old:

- HPV

- Tetanus

- Meningococcal

- Tdap

Cell phones

Same rules as last year. No phones – period. They can be taken even if spotted with the power off in a backpack. They can be confiscated for 30 days on the first offense and 60 days on the second offense.

Time changes

Some Richmond County schools are extending the day to allow for increased learning time. The schools changing times are: Murphey Middle, Butler High, Lucy C. Laney High, T.W. Josey Comprehensive High and Glenn Hills High. Executive Director of High Schools Lynn Warr said the final times are still being determined except for Murphey, which will run from 8:50 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Columbia County

First day: Tuesday

School Lunch: Like Richmond County, Columbia County raised lunch prices as a result of a federal mandate.

The only grades affected are the elementary grades, which will go from $2.25 to $2.50. Middle and high school lunches will remain unchanged from last year at $2.50.

Breakfast will remain $1.

Transportation: Bus routes remain the same from last year, except for two new routes added to compensate for some growth, said Transportation Director Dewayne Porter. The school system mailed information packets with route information to parents this week, but click here if you still need to find your child’s route

Aiken County

First day: Aug. 20

Registration: Runs from Aug. 1 to Aug. 16, depending on your school. See a list of times and dates here.

Dress Code: Find a list of what not to wear here.

Bus Routes: Find your child's route here.

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Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 08/06/12 - 08:53 am
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Very nicely done,

Ms. McManus.

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