TCSS kicks off a new school year

Published 9:00 am Saturday, August 5, 2023

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On a dreary, rainy morning, kids across Troup County ended their summer break and headed back to school on Friday. For many parents, it’s a sigh of relief but for teachers and school administrators, it’s months of planning coming to fruition.

There’s always excitement on the first day of school, plus the nerves of meeting new teachers and classmates and the anticipation of what the school year might bring. It’s no different at Clearview Elementary School, where Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate toured classrooms with Principal Shannah Mabry. It was the first of four stops planned for the superintendent, who says he aims to visit four schools per day for the first week.

“We’re all super excited to be getting back to school. Our principals and leaders and teachers and all the staff have worked really hard getting schools ready. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into this starting back in early spring,” Shumate said.

Clearview is the district’s newest school having opened in 2018. Five years later, it’s still as fresh as the bright-eyed students on their first day. Shumate and Mabry roamed the halls and classrooms, occasionally interacting with students but trying their best to avoid interrupting instruction. It’s clear that many of the students care for Mabry as they frequently held out their arms for a hug when she passes in the hall.

Shumate said starting on a Friday might be counterintuitive, but it allows time to get the kinks worked out over the weekend before the first full week of school. He has frequently joked that getting kids to school, fed and safely back home is a good first day of school.

The less formal first day also allows for classes to get “settled,” which is the school system’s term for evening out class sizes after late registrations. Mabry said they had about 30 “walk-in” students on the day whose guardians had not registered them for school, so they have to find a classroom for them. Shumate said they will also likely have some students who registered and don’t show up, so students and teachers will be moved around. In rare cases, sometimes teachers have to be assigned to another school because of late registrations.

It can be difficult on teachers after they’ve gotten set for one school. and they are told they have to move to another.

“That’s part of why we ask parents to register their kids early,” Shumate said.

No first day of school is without issues, which Shumate was reminded of after visiting the first classroom when he was informed that a bus bringing students from Lee’s Crossing to LaGrange High hadn’t shown up. Moments later Shumate was on the phone with Transportation Director Chip Giles, who informed him that a bus had broken down and they were dealing with the issue.

“These things happen. If that’s the worst thing that happens today, then it will be a good first day,” Shumate said.

Shumate did get a bit of good news. One kindergarten teacher reported that many of her students already know their letter sounds. He said it really helps kids to get to their reading proficiency levels when education starts at home.

Mabry also said she is excited to get the school year started.

“We’re very excited to start the school year. Our teachers and staff and families and students have worked really hard to get the school year started. Here at Clearview, we are one team, one dream, better together and we are super excited about the school year and all the progress our students are going to make,” Mabry said.