Alabama school systems prepare to welcome back students

Schools are preparing to welcome students back to the classroom.
Schools are preparing to welcome students back to the classroom.(wsfa 12 news)
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 7:00 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Believe it or not summer is coming to an end. This is the final week of the summer break for many students across the River Region. Next week, it’s back to class!

While your kids are soaking up their final days of freedom, teachers are returning to the classroom this week to prepare for their students.

“We’re going to give them our very best every day, and we want them to be able to do the same,” said Melissa Williams, Superintendent of Macon County Schools.

Williams says student achievement and safety are among the top priorities as they prepare to welcome students back.

“We’re just revising and revamping our safety plans. We’re doing any upgrades that we need to do to our facilities to be sure that they’re safe,” said Williams.

One of the biggest challenges rural systems like that in Macon County face is the limited resources, but Williams says thanks a number of recent technology grants, all students will be able to take iPads and laptops home this fall.

“Funds are sporadic,” Williams notes. “We have to make other ways or find other ways to fill those gaps or fill those holes.”

And while other systems have been impacted by the teacher shortage, as well, Williams says they have good news on that front: “We’re fully staffed at this point, we are proud to say.”

Elmore County Superintendent Richard Dennis says it has been a busy summer as they prepare to open a brand new middle school.

“That’s a big task, and we’re trying to make sure that everything is planned and ready to go,” Dennis explained.

Susanne Goodin, Director of Human Services for the district says they have hired 90 new teachers to fill the facility, which is slightly higher than normal. In order to keep those teachers, they’ve launched a taskforce.

“We invite teachers to come in and talk to us about reasons why they’re leaving the profession, and what we can actually do in Elmore county to retain them, and so that they keep working for us,” said Goodin.

Dennis says making sure they have quality teachers is critical, noting “the classroom teacher is the person who’s going to make the greatest impact on the student as far as education’s concerned.”

While school are busy preparing to welcome students back, parents need to make sure they’re also getting their children ready for the transition. Now is the time to get them back on a schedule. Set a specific bedtime; children ages six to 13 need at least 9 hours of sleep per night, and teenagers need at least eight.

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