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School bells ring in 2012-13 school year at Union County Public Schools

Students exit the bus on the first day of school at Parkwood Middle School. (Below) Kelly Nance, a kindergarten teacher at Prospect Elementary, talks with one of her students on the first day of school. A mom walks her son into Indian Trail Elementary School on the first day of school. Some Unionville Elementary students chat before class on the first day of school.

When the school bells rang this morning signaling the start of the 2012-2013 traditional school year, a total of 39,341 students walked into one of the 53 Union County Public Schools.

McCraw said there were two (unrelated) minor accidents this morning, one involving a Prospect Elementary parent, the other a Union County Early College student, but neither resulted in life-threatening injuries.

UCPS enrollment numbers were projected this year at about 41,650, but the official enrollment figures will not be taken until the 20th day of school. This is an increase over last year’s enrollment (for the 2011-2012 school year) of 40,359.

Kim Chinnis, principal at Parkwood Middle School, said historically the biggest challenge for middle school students is coming from an elementary school environment to the sixth grade. “Students are learning their way around the school, moving from class to class, using a locker for the first time,” she said. “Our teachers are there to help them with that transition."

Chinnis said her teachers worked through out the summer months preparing for the new school year. “They are eager to get started," she said.

Jan Hollis, principal at Parkwood High School, said the biggest challenge for her staff the first of school is taking care of all the schedule change requests. “That can be everything from, ‘I’m in the wrong math,’ to ‘I’ve signed up for too many honors classes and I’ve rethought that decision,’ ” she said.

The message given to all Parkwood students this morning, Hollis added, was the same from all teachers. “They wanted to make sure that they got started off right so that a child understands that the focus here this year will be improvement and growth,” she said. “If every child understands that’s the expectation of all of my teachers, then we can be well on our way to a successful year.”

UCPS teachers system wide have been working throughout the summer to prepare for and understand the new Common Core State Standards and the North Carolina Essential standards that will be taught and assessed.

“My math and English teachers have trained all summer,” Hollis said. “They have met as a group on their own time, talking to each other. The English Department has written up some directions that everyone can follow, and some resources they can go to. This is to help everyone get on the same page. They’ve done a whole lot of work to help each other.”

The state adopted the Common Core State Standards in K-12 mathematics and K-12 English language arts, which were released by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The Essential Standards include the standards for the newly adopted curriculum in the following areas: English as a second language, science, social studies, world languages, arts education and healthful living.

Enjoy the following video featuring several students from several schools on the first day.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator: Photos by Bledsoe; Arthur Rogers, Visual Communications Coordinator; and Don Mace, Web Communicatinos Coordinator: Video by Don Mace
Posted: Aug 27, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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