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First week back goes well for DeKalb students
by Christine Fonville
August 19, 2014 11:16 AM | 2391 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Aug. 11 marked the first day back to school for DeKalb County students and according to principals at Montgomery Elementary in Brookhaven, Peachtree Charter Middle in Dunwoody and Tucker High in Tucker, students, staff and parents are busy getting back into the swing of things.

At Montgomery Elementary, 3995 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Principal Dan McGuire said the school’s larger population has been both a highlight and a challenge in getting the facilities ready for more students.

“The first week back went great,” McGuire said. “It’s been more of a challenge to ensure that everything is going smoothly with our larger population of students this year, but it’s very exciting to see so many new families and how popular the school is becoming.”

McGuire said the school did face some late transportation issues but they were solved by the middle of the week.

Implementing more science, technology, engineering and math programs as well as student and teacher growth are just some of the goals he said the school is trying to achieve this year.

“We have professional learning goals, workshop models of small group learning and are focusing on our universal screeners assessments which develop goals based on how students do at the beginning of the year,” McGuire said. “We’re pushing students to make growth, and testing all students for each grade level.”

Peachtree Charter Middle, 4664 North Peachtree Road, also dealt with transportation issues during the first day back to school. But Principal Scott Heptinstall said other transitions, including instructional blocks of time, new to the school this year, have started off smoothly.

“During our first week we did experience some transportation challenges that delayed children from getting home at the correct time, but those issues have since been solved and now are running very well so far,” he said.

“For example, on the first day of school we had a 4:30 [p.m.] dismissal time of buses but we improved that time to 4:10 [p.m.] by Wednesday.”

Heptinstall said other changes this year, such as a new student information system, have been positive changes for the school.

“We’ve switched our student information system this year and it’s running smoothly for staff, students and parents,” he said. “Our more specific goals for this school year include identifying where students are excelling and struggling and giving them more support in the classroom.”

More SAT prep classes and the possibility of “double dosing” or providing students with two math, writing or reading classes in a school day is also in the works for the school.

Tucker High, 5036 Lavista Road, was busy preparing for the largest student population — about 1,800 students — which Principal James Jackson said he had not seen in his nine years of being a principal at the school.

Jackson said the school’s goals for the 2014-15 year include improving classroom structure and learning for students and teachers.

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