Air-conditioned buses, high-tech classrooms, Chromebooks await some 20,000 students returning to schools next Monday
What’s new with Fayette County for the coming school year includes items such as dress code updates, air-conditioned school buses, online school bus information, interactive classroom technology, principal changes, and early release dates. Upwards of 20,000 students will be headed back to class Aug. 7.
Above, getting ready to go back to school can involve more than preparing for studies. These kids found plenty of activities at the annual Back-to-School Expo held in downtown Fayetteville July 28. Pictured, from left, are 9-year-old Brendan Childs and 5-year-old Braxton Childs, both from Fayetteville, and Dea Scott, a helpful instructor with the Fayette County Democratic Committee. Photo/Ben Nelms.
According to school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach the changes include:
• Dress code — As parents and students purchase school clothes for the coming year, they need to take into consideration some changes that have been made to the school system’s dress code. Most notable are that sleeveless shirts and dresses must have shoulder straps that cover the entire shoulder and are at least four fingers wide. Holes in garments must be below the fingertips or mid-thigh, and hems on skirts, dresses or shorts must be at or below the fingertips, or mid-thigh.
• School buses — Temperatures are always soaring when it is time for students to return to class, but this year the school bus ride to and from school will be more comfortable for students and bus drivers alike. A total of 154 school buses have been retrofitted with air-conditioning units to combat the hot days of August and September. New school buses that are purchased in the future will come standard with air-conditioning. Previously, only special education school buses were air-conditioned.
Also starting this year, parents will be able to have immediate online access to their child’s school bus number, school bus stop location, and pick up and drop off times through e-Link. Parents can access the link at www.fcboe.org/elink beginning Aug. 2. Parents can only view the information after they have registered for bus service. If no information appears, register for bus service, and then access the link again.
• Connected Classrooms — This summer technicians began installing classrooms with interactive technology that includes a 65-inch wide interactive panel display with a dedicated computer and document camera. The interactive panel display features touch annotation that allows students and teachers to use the panel as a tool to explain a process or model an idea.
Schools are also being equipped with one-to-one Chromebooks so that every student has access to a device. Installations will continue into the school year, over the weekends and holidays, until all classrooms in the school system are equipped with the new technology.
• New principals — Four schools will have new principals at the helm. Former Assistant Principal Lisa Howe is the new principal at Robert. J. Burch Elementary. She replaces Felecia Spicer, who is now the principal at Oak Grove Elementary, replacing Bonnie Hancock, who retired last March.
Principals Doe Evans at Crabapple Lane Elementary and Roy Rabold at Whitewater High retired at the end of the school year. Former Crabapple Lane Elementary Assistant Principal Margaret Davis and former Whitewater High Assistant Principal Steve Cole have been promoted to principal at their respective schools.
• Early Release Days — The 2017-2018 school calendar has been revised to include four early release days for students in order to give teachers more professional learning opportunities. The early release days are Sept. 20, Oct. 19, Jan. 31, and March 14.
On those dates, elementary students will be released at 11 a.m., middle school students at 11:45 a.m., and high school students at 12:25 p.m. School buses will run on the early release schedule to take students home from school.