Schools see changes, improvements

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, August 5, 2010

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

As the new school year approaches, Lowndes County teachers, administrators and staff are making preparations for students in the all important first day.

School begins for Lowndes County students on Aug. 9 and some of the things the children can look forward to may include new teachers, new academic challenges and school renovations.

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Lowndes Academy and Hayneville Middle School (HMS) have seen all of these things implemented over the summer break in anticipation for the students’ arrival.

Headmaster Chuck Insinga of Lowndes Academy noted the changes made this year differ somewhat from what students saw last year.

“We are developing a new school improvement plan,” said Insinga. “This plan will include establishing and meeting new goals and standards for all of our students.”

Lowndes Academy has been working to develop higher levels of student achievement by raising test scores, adding new computers to assist student research and improving stakeholder involvement through the school’s website and Ed-line.

Ed-line is a communication program for parents and students to make interaction between students and the school easier for parents. One area of the program will include grades.

HMS will be seeing dramatic improvements, such as interactive classrooms with what are being called smart boards. These boards became available through the School Improvement grant received by the Lowndes County Board of Education earlier this year.

Smart boards are interactive boards that can be hooked to a computer and allow teachers to teach lessons without having to touch the computer.

Many of HMS’s teachers have attended numerous workshops over the summer to learn how to best use the smart boards.

“We are working to change the climate of the school,” said HMS Principal Antonio Williams. “We want the school to have a more welcoming atmosphere for the students and parents.”

Williams said the classrooms are being decorated with a FIESTA theme, or Focusing on Important Educational Standards That All students can meet.

Lowndes County Public Schools are also collectively collaborating on a pacing guide to allow a more standardized course of instruction for students county-wide, according to Williams.

HMS will also be “targeting” more parental involvement with their PTSA. The school is aiming toward 100-percent participation from the teachers and at least 75-percent participation from the parents.

Williams said, “students should get excited about the new school year. We are going to make education fun, but relevant.”

Lowndes Academy is also preparing for an accreditation visit Nov. 16. The school’s accreditations are held every five years.

Insinga offered some words of advice for new and returning students to help in preparing for the first day of school.

“Students need to get a good night’s rest, come prepared to learn, keep an open mind and ask for help when they need it,” said Insinga.