Theme school planned by NCSS

The Covington News - - Local news - By Tisa Smart Wash­ing­ton

New­ton County stu­dents in ele­men­tary and mid­dle school will now have a theme school op­tion beginning next year. The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion ap­proved dur­ing its Dec. 9 meet­ing Su­per­in­ten­dent R. Steven What­ley’s rec­om­men­da­tions for the cre­ation of two new theme schools.

“The rec­om­men­da­tion to the board is that an ele­men­tary and mid­dle theme school be es­tab­lished and that the ele­men­tary and mid­dle school at­ten­dance zones and sites be set for 2009-2010…” What­ley said.

The two theme schools — one for kinder­garten to fifth grades and the other for sixth to eighth grades — will op­er­ate with an em­pha­sis on parental in­volve­ment. The sites for the theme schools are Fairview Ele­men­tary and Cle­ments Mid­dle Schools.

For ele­men­tary stu­dents, the theme school will be opened at Fairview Ele­men­tary with a max­i­mum en­roll­ment of 725 stu­dents. A new su­per zone for the theme school will be cre­ated to in­clude Fairview, Fic­quett, Palmer-Stone and West New­ton ele­men­tary schools. There will be 625 seats avail­able for stu­dents liv­ing in­side the su­per zone. An ad­di­tional 100 seats will be avail­able for stu­dents liv­ing out­side of the su­per zone. Stu­dents cur­rently zoned for Fairview Ele­men­tary will be re­zoned to the new ele­men­tary school on Kirk­land Road, which is set to open in Septem­ber.

For mid­dle school stu­dents, the theme school will be opened at Cle­ments Mid­dle School with a max­i­mum en­roll­ment of 850 stu­dents. Stu­dents cur­rently zoned for Cle­ments Mid­dle School will be re­zoned to Lib­erty Mid­dle School, which also is set to open in Septem­ber.

The ele­men­tary school will pi­lot pro­grams that in­te­grate re­search-cen­tered/ hand­son projects, crit­i­cal think­ing skills, es­pe­cially in math and sci­ence and in­creased read­ing as­sign­ments at home and dur­ing the sum­mer break. In ad­di­tion to the re­quire­ments at the ele­men­tary level, the mid­dle school also will of­fer a com­pre­hen­sive, in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram.

Stu­dentswill only be al­lowed to at­tend a theme school once dur­ing their ele­men­tary school ca­reer and once dur­ing their mid­dle school ca­reer. Par­ents are not al­lowed to en­roll, with­drawand en­roll a stu­dent again. Stu­dents also are ex­pected to en­roll with a com­mit­ment to at­tend the school for at least one year.

The school sys­tem will be­gin ac­cept­ing applications for the theme school in Jan­uary.

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