08/26/09 — Schools get 'A' on first day

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Schools get 'A' on first day

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 26, 2009 1:46 PM

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North Drive Elementary school first-grade teacher Velma Hartsfield, helps DyNautica Hinton, right, 7, with her work as Jasmine Bieri, third from right, 6, and Tarika McClarin, 6, look on early this morning.

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Dillard Middle School students Ruben Munoz, left, and Chris Prense look for their homeroom classes Tuesday on their first day back to school.

School officials reported a smooth transition to the start of school Tuesday, with 18,116 students reporting the first day.

Enrollment was below last year's start of school, when 18,267 students turned out for the first day. By the 10th day, the marker used by the state to determine classroom sizes and teacher needs, grew to 19,377 students.

The start of a new school year is always exciting, administrators said.

"Our schools have been gearing up for this day ever since students left for the summer," said Dr. Steven Taylor, schools superintendent. "We anticipate another great school year for our district. Over the next 10 months, our staff will continue working to improve student achievement and preparing our students to be successful in the 21st century."

Across the board, schools kept pace with enrollment for the start of school in 2008.

Main differences were seen at schools where configurations changed, with the merger of Belfast and Southern academies into Wayne Middle/High Academy, which prompted the closure of Goldsboro Intermediate School. As a result, enrollment at Dillard Middle went from 211 last year to 471.

Carver Elementary School in Mount Olive, meanwhile, dropped from 682 to 570, attributed to the transfer of fifth grade this year to Mount Olive Middle School. At MOMS, enrollment climbed from 312 to 433.

Schools near the military base also showed marked increases with the start of school -- Eastern Wayne Elementary rose from 695 to 723, Meadow Lane Elementary went from 312 to 433.

In the northern end of the county, Northeast Elemen-tary's enrollment went from 717 to 737.

Meanwhile, in the southern end, Southern Wayne High School first-day figures dropped from 1,025 last year to 986.

Likewise, in the city, Goldsboro High School was down by 30, from 492 to 462.

Transportation is always another issue for school systems, as bus drivers work out logistics of routes and student assignments. The district's transportation department reported there were few delays experienced on the first day.

Officials offered the following reminders to motorists as school resumes: Never pass a school bus while its lights are flashing; allow time in the morning and afternoon to compensate for bus slowdowns; keep an eye out for children at bus stops or crossing streets or walking to and from school; slow down for crosswalks and in school zones; and never pass a stopped bus.

"We also want to remind parents who have requested new bus stops, that unless it is a safety issue, it is transportation policy to wait until the 10th day of school before we make any changes to bus routes," added Raymond Smith, WCPS transportation director. "Parents should give their bus stop requests to their child's school."