Originally created 05/01/06

Pupils get a dose of manners



BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Reading, writing and respect?

Public education in Glynn County might include manners beginning in the next school year. Superintendent Michael Bull says class is as important as chemistry, and he is pushing for an elective course for sixth-graders that would include topics such as politeness, communication and respect.

A two-week session on etiquette is already in session at Frederica Academy. The St. Simons Island private school addresses good manners, making introductions, writing thank you notes and occasion-appropriate clothes.

Sixth-grader Claire Byers said the classes are a welcome escape from the rigors of academic study.

"I like them because you don't have to think about numbers or vocabulary," she said.

Mr. Bull said learning how to be organized, focused and an effective communicator is as much a key to success as memorizing facts. It could also improve pupil achievement.

"We've had pretty good results on the fifth-grade (standardized) tests, and not great results on the eighth-grade tests," Mr. Bull said. "We need to figure out what's happening between fifth and eighth grade. It shouldn't be hard. We just need to come up with different solutions."

A life skills class could be part of the answer. In addition to etiquette, the elective would cover other nonacademic topics meant to improve performance, such as note-taking and organization.

"I think one of the reasons we teach these classes is because life isn't just about school and work," Frederica Academy Middle School Principal Jon Meredith said. "These are skills they'll need to succeed later on in life. We're teaching them to become well-rounded."