As reported in the Athens Banner Herald, Jefferson and Commerce city students reported for their first day of school last Friday while thousands of students in other school systems will start school between this week and next.
Beginning class in July gives students time to take a weeklong fall break in October and still be able to finish the semester more than a week before Christmas, Commerce School Superintendent Joy Tolbert said.
Clarke County students begin school Aug. 9, but teachers will report a week earlier, beginning Tuesday with an “all-employee kickoff” at the Classic Center, where employees will get to meet new Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means.
Means left the superintendent’s job in his high-achieving Wisconsin school district to replace Philip Lanoue, who departed in January after nine years.
Six of Clarke’s 21 schools will start the year with new principals and one school will hold classes in a new location temporarily.
Over the summer, construction crews demolished the old Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School building to begin work on a new two-story building at the same location.
In the meantime, Oglethorpe’s temporary home will be the old Gaines Elementary School on Gaines School Road which was left vacant when a new Gaines Elementary opened further south on Gaines School Road 13 years ago.
But for the past dozen years, old Gaines Elementary served as a temporary home for several elementary schools during long renovation projects.
Unlike recent years, teachers and students will not have to adjust to major mandates from legislators in Georgia or Washington. Students will also see fewer state-mandated achievement tests this year.
After widespread criticism of Georgia’s heavy regimen of standardized achievement tests, the legislature last year eliminated some testing requirements and reduced from 50 percent to 30 percent the amount test scores will count in teachers’ job evaluations.
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