Om­buds­man bus trou­ble-free

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­

New­ton County School Sys­tem of­fi­cials say things are run­ning smoothly so far re­gard­ing Om­buds­man trans­porta­tion.

At a July meet­ing, the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion ap­proved hav­ing only one bus stop lo­ca­tion, at Jack Neely Road, for pick­ing up and drop­ping off stu­dents who needed trans­porta­tion to the al­ter­na­tive school Om­buds­man’s two New­ton lo­ca­tions. The board also, af­ter re­ported be­hav­ioral prob­lems, voted to add a mon­i­tor to the Om­buds­man bus.

The school sys­tem bus pre­vi­ously had picked up Om­buds­man stu­dents at four lo­ca­tions — the old Wal­mart at U.S. High­way 278; the Jack Neely Road stop; the park­ing lot at Al­covy High School; and Denny Dobbs Park on Ga. High­way 212. How­ever, the small num­bers of stu­dents be­ing picked up from the var­i­ous lo­ca­tions caused the BOE and school sys­tem to look into elim­i­nat­ing trans­porta­tion for the al­ter­na­tive school.

Craig Lock­hart, deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of schools, re­ported dur­ing the BOE’S work ses­sion Tues­day that, as of Aug. 7, no prob­lems have oc­curred on the bus that pro­vides trans­porta­tion to Om­buds­man.

In ad­di­tion, Lock­hart said, no dis­ci­pline prob­lems have been re­ported at Om­buds­man’s two lo­ca­tions — Om­buds­man East and Om­buds­man West. He said so far, 28 stu­dents are en­rolled at the Om­buds­man East and 19 stu­dents are en­rolled at the Om­buds­man West lo­ca­tion,

but in­takes are still tak­ing place.

“It is an­tic­i­pated that en­roll­ment will be higher by the end of the week,” he said. “The bus driver has had no more than five stu­dents at a time on the bus, and two stu­dents on the mid­dle-school route.”

In other busi­ness, the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion ap­proved Flex­i­ble Learn­ing Pro­gram plans for Live Oak and West New­ton el­e­men­tary schools, and the two schools will soon of­fer free af­ter-school pro­grams for some stu­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from school of­fi­cials, as a re­quire­ment of the El­e­men­tary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Act, un­der Ti­tle I, schools iden­ti­fied as hav­ing “Pri­or­ity” and/ or “Fo­cus” sta­tus must de­velop and im­ple­ment Flex­i­ble Learn­ing Pro­grams for the 2013-‘14 school year.

A “Fo­cus School” is a Ti­tle I school that is among the 10 per­cent of state schools with the largest within-school gaps be­tween the high­est per­form­ing stu­dents and low­est per­form­ing stu­dents. At the high-school level, the mea­sure­ment is the largest within-school gaps in grad­u­a­tion rates.

Live Oak and West New­ton are des­ig­nated as Fo­cus Schools. They are re­quired to de­velop Flex­i­ble Learn­ing Pro­grams to of­fer ad­di­tional aca­demic ser­vices be­yond nor­mal school hours in sub­ject ar­eas of needed stu­dent im­prove­ment.

Live Oak El­e­men­tary will of­fer a free af- ter-school science pro­gram on Tues­days, Wed­nes­days, and Thurs­days from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and West New­ton El­e­men­tary will of­fer a free math pro­gram Tues­days and Thurs­days from 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

En­roll­ment let­ters and ap­pli­ca­tions will be sent to all “Fo­cus School” par­ents next week. All ap­pli­ca­tions for en­roll­ment are due no later than Sept. 6.

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