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8/3/2017 3:00:00 PM
County schools open 2017-2018 year next week

Where did summer go?

That's what students, parents, and teachers are asking as Switzerland County prepares to begin its 2017-2018 school year next week.

Superintendent Mike Jones said that everyone is excited to get the new school year started, with students coming into Switzerland County High School this week to pick up their technology device equipment. For those who haven't made it yet, there is still time, with the school being open today (Thursday) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and also tomorrow (Friday) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At that time parents may also pay their portion of textbook fees for the coming year. The School Endowment Corporation will be paying 80-percent of the textbook rental fees for this year, with parents owing the other 20-percent. Jones said that the school can take credit card payments, and payment plans are also available for parents who may need to stretch the cost out over time.

"We will work with people to make it as painless as possible," the superintendent said.

And that sets everything up to begin next week.

"Teachers will be coming in on Monday, August 7th, for orientation, teacher meetings, and a work day; then on Tuesday there's a teacher work day, and then the two elementary schools are having their open houses that night. The students' first day will be on Wednesday, August 9th," the superintendent said.

With the beginning of the new year, Superintendent Jones said that there are several new programs that the corporation is excited about.

"We're starting our Pre-K program; which will start the Tuesday after Labor Day (September 5th)," Jones said. "We're also getting ready for our first year of our 21st Century School. We're going to be handing out flyers giving parents all of the information about that new program. We received a federal grant for that program, and the target date for starting on that is August 14th."

Jones said that he, Grants Coordinator Fred Ross, and elementary principals Sally Weales and Tony Spoores visited Austin Elementary School, which is in its second year of a 21st Century School grant; and came away with a lot of ideas on how to help students excel even more.

"It's going to be remediation and also enrichment," Jones said. "And hopefully there will be some fun things like crafts. Kids will be doing some activities. We're really excited about that. It will be at both elementary schools; and we will be providing transportation home for those who need it; so that's going to be something new that we're excited about."

Jones said that the 21st Century School is an after school program; and Switzerland County received a four year grant to fund the program. Jones said that each school will have an educator and also an activity director to work with the students.

Jones said that Switzerland County Middle School was holding an open house this week; and students are also adapting to the high school procedures in an open format. There are some new programs in each building; and fall sports practices are also getting underway.

"It's pretty much business as usual," Jones said. "We're excited about getting the new year started. This will be my 39th year to start, and my sixth as superintendent. I'm looking forward to a really good year."

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