By Alton Mitchell
The hustle is on once again as teachers and administrators in Chambers County are making their last minute preparations for students whom are only weeks away from entering the classroom once again to start the 2016-2017 school year. While the local schools are making their last few cosmetic adjustments the Chambers County School District has been making preparations all summer long and will offer several new and exciting programs and features this calendar year.
One of the biggest changes this year in the Chambers County School District is a new program known as community eligibility or CEP. This new program allows students in Chambers County elementary and middle schools to receive free lunches this year. School district officials note the program is in direct relation to the “breakfast in the classroom” program that is already in place at local schools. The new CEP program now means all elementary and middle school students in Chambers County Schools now receive free breakfast and lunch without parents having to complete free and reduced lunch applications.
High School students that may need to complete the applications can do so beginning on August 1st through the school districts website or the website of their specific high school. There is a link to the free/reduced lunch applications available on the website homepage. District officials strongly encourage applicants to complete the application online, but paper applications are also available and can be picked up at the schools.
Higher schoolers in Chambers County will also have access to a program that began last year and is looking to expand this year. The virtual school allows students in Chambers County to take online learning from their homes. The program is open to students in grades 9-12 in the attendance zones for LaFayette High School and Valley High School. For the upcoming school year the Chambers County School District is opening the program up to a higher number of students. These programs are available both on and off campus. This year students will also have an opportunity to participate in blended classes. The blended classes allows students to take traditional on campus classes as well as virtual classes. Virtual classes are free of charge to students. Anyone who has an interest in participating in the virtual learning courses should contact counselors at either LaFayette High School or Valley High School. Interested parties can also contact Sharon Weldon at the central office.
Chambers County’s career technical classes have been popular and have included such programs as teacher education,precision machining, pre-engineering, health science, cosmetology, information and business technology, and health science. In addition to the popular classes already in place demand by students and the community has led to the implementation of two new programs at career tech this year they include graphic arts and culinary arts. After years of requests from the community the Chambers County School district was able to get the programs in place for this school year.
A major administrative change will welcome students at Valley high school this year as well as returning students will no longer see Principal Jim Davidson as principal at the high school. In the June school board meeting Sherry Ashe was named to take the position of principal at Valley High School to replace Mr. Davidson who retired at close of last school year. Ms. Ashe is no stranger to Valley High School she has previously served as an assistant principal at the school.
Classes begin back next Thursday August 11th for students in Chambers County public schools.
Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge would like to remind newcomers to the area that now is the best time to enroll new students in classes. This can help to prevent delays in paperwork and allows for teachers and faculty to make proper arrangements and planning for your child. Motorist are also cautioned to slow down in school areas and neighborhoods as more pedestrian traffic will be present as children return to the classrooms.