08/24/06 — School bells will ring tomorrow across county

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School bells will ring tomorrow across county

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 24, 2006 2:07 PM

First-day jitters should be at a minimum for students starting school Friday if this week's open houses are any indication. Parents and students alike echoed sentiments of teachers and staff who said the event served to better prepare everyone for a new school year.

Open house events were held Wednesday evening at elementary schools across the county, with most reporting they were well-attended.

At Meadow Lane Elementary School, Principal Celia James said the enrollment has "boomed in the last two weeks" and expected several more to be added to the rolls before the end of the week.

"We're looking at 740 students," she said. "We ended the school year at 700. Two weeks ago, we were at less than 700. It's always a guessing game trying to figure out the organization of my classes."

Ms. James said the teachers had worked hard and "look forward to having the children show up so they can see their smiling faces. I think there's a lot of energy on open house night."

Tameika Jennette was there with her son Deric, a third-grader. She had already attended open house the previous evening for her daughter, who will attend Greenwood Middle School.

"I think the turnout was better this year than in years past and the teachers seem very well-organized," she said. "They seem to be excited and ready for the kids."

Ms. Jennette said the event provided some idea of what to expect in the coming months.

"You can pretty much know their game plan," she said. "They are using the Internet now so parents will know what they're doing with homework. I think the schools are trying real hard to get grades up and parent participation up."

Outside the school, Darius Pinkney was waiting to go inside. The first-grader moved to Goldsboro two months ago from Maryland, where he said he had been an "A" student. He said he plans to sit in the front row in his new class.

At School Street Elementary, AIG specialist Carol Goss directed parents and children to their classes.

"We have had a lot of parents and children come in, getting their teachers, finding which buses they'll ride," she said. "I see students that I have taught in the past. That's a wonderful feeling."

Shomaneka Reid was there with daughters Nalexia Vann, a kindergarten student, and Nylivia Reid, 7, a second-grader.

"We're just looking, making the rounds," Ms. Reid said while waiting for her son, a first-grader, to check out his classroom.

Second-grader Lewis Sampson said he has a list of favorite subjects in school.

"P.E., art, music, math and writing," he said, before also adding football.

Mom Tennillia Battle said she is also going to school, so will likely be doing homework right along with her children. The one thing she learned during open house, she said, was "basically, we're going to do more reading."

At Carver Heights Elementary School, home school coordinator Mary McEachern said she has been working in the building for 22 years. She said open house was running smoothly and called it a good night for everyone.

"We have so many children eager to get here and for their parents to meet the teachers," she said.

Principal Beverly Woodley said the staff was looking forward to the new K-4 configuration at the school this year.

"We have got new bubbly, excited staff members, and we're going to continue on with our Reading First program," she said. "We're looking forward to working on those AYP percentages and continuing our ABC percentages. Our theme this year is 'Making the Mission Possible.'"

Daniel and Carma Hooper brought their sons, Vashon, 9, and Kristopher, 7. The boys are in fourth and first grades, respectively.

"We wanted to meet the teachers, find out a little more about the curriculum, what kind of supplies and things they're going to need to have a successful year," Hooper said.

Vashon said he was looking forward "to getting good grades, academics and being on the principal's list on my report card."

"I want to be on the A honor roll," chimed in Kristopher, who said his favorite subject is math.

First-grade teacher Alice Edgecombe is in her ninth year teaching at the school.

"I look forward to it -- open house and the children coming back -- seeing the faces that I had last year, the kindergartners that I'm getting this year," she said. "I'm excited about the school."

Brothers Jordan Alston, a third-grader, and Jabien Alston, a fourth-grader, had their own take on returning to school.

Jabien said, "It's fun and we do a lot of stuff in P.E. and music."

"My favorite special is P.E.," said Jordan.

For them, open house meant locating classrooms, finding out which desk would be theirs and meeting their teachers.

"We're ready, but I'm not really ready," Jabien admitted. "I want to have one more day."

Even so, the youngster said that school is fun and serves an important purpose.

"You're there to work and learn," he said. "If you don't learn, you won't know anything to do. You might break out of school. Then you would be in the middle of nowhere and won't know how to spell any words."

Meanwhile, outside the school office, Mabel McNair, behavior specialist, could be heard cheering, "Yay for Carver Heights! We're going to have a good year, an excellent year."