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Saturday, July 24, 2010

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Schools ready for new year Rome, Floyd, Darlington students should expect changes By Kevin Myrick Staff Writer

Bells will be ringing starting Aug. 2, but they’re not ushering in the holiday season. These bells will be ringing for students who will be reporting to class, and they’ll continue ringing throughout the month of August as school comes back from summer break. Not much has changed since the bells last rang in June: cell phone use is still restricted, the dress code is the same. What has changed for some students is where they’ll be attending school as one school shut its doors at the end of the year and another plans to open theirs before the school year begins. Here’s some of the things that you’ll need to know as students head back into the classroom.

Rome City Schools Students in the Rome City School system will be back in the classroom Aug. 2, and there are some big changes that have happened during the past year in the system. Gayland Cooper, superintendent of the city school system, said no major rule changes have come down but that parents and students should look over their handbooks given out the first day of class to make sure both understand school rules. “We have the handbook for each school in the system,” he said. “And it contains information about dress code, school lunch prices and other information.” The biggest changes for the school system come in the form of new programs. With the closing of Anna K. Davie Elementary School, Cooper said that teachers and staff had to be moved to Southeast Elementary School and that bus routes had to be reorganized. Cooper said the school is ready for the transition and that parents of students from Anna K. Davie last year should have already received information in the mail about bus routes and Southeast Elementary. Another program Cooper is excited about is the Phoenix Performance Learning Center, which is a non-traditional High School for


SATURDAY, July 24, 2010

Ken Caruthers / Rome News-Tribune

Ellen Summertin (left), a Rome High student, and Hannah Stewart, a Coosa High student, shop for ring binders and other supplies at Staples in preparation for the coming school year. students 16 years or older who are looking to catch up on their classwork in order to graduate on time. Cooper said students will be on a flexible scheduled during nineweek “mini-mesters” and can come from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. He said students will also be allowed to take classes all day if they wish to catch up more. Other new programs include a cosmetology lab at Rome High School for students interested in cosmetology, which Cooper said will allow students after introductory courses to earn college credits through Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Cooper said the school system as a whole will also start using a new data management benchmarking tool for math, called Class Works. Cooper said the software won’t just benchmark the progress made by students in the classroom, but will also allow for recommendations to be made

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about how a student can be helped if they need it in specific areas of math. “That’s going to be new for this year, and we’re glad to get that tool with Title I dollars from the federal government,” he said. Cell phone and dress code policies have not changed for any of the Rome City Schools. Cooper said that cell phone should be kept out of sight and silenced or turned off during the school day, and that the dress code is business casual for students.

Floyd County Schools When students return to Floyd County Schools on Aug. 9 there won’t be much different from last year. The days are still the same length and policies about dress code and cell phone use are still in place. No major rule changes are being put into place yet, according to Floyd County Schools spokesman Tim Hensley. But what will be

changing soon is the way each school is run on a local level. When Floyd County Schools became a charter system, they put into place a plan to elect two parents from each school to be part of a school governance board that would make decisions about rules, everything from dress code to cell phone policies. Those rules will be provided in student handbooks passed out on the first day in each classroom. He said parents and students should make sure to read over the rules in the handbook to ensure a smooth transition into the new school year. In August and September, the system plans to release more information to parents at each school for the process of election to the board, according to Hensley. The other big change in the system is the opening of Model High School, with a ribbon cutting ceremony planned for Aug. 8. Please see NEW YEAR 7

State adopts nation’s educational standards From staff, AP reports

Ken Carruthers / Rome News-Tribune

Makiya Mayes, 8, receives her lunchduring a summer camp program recently.

Nutrition, healthy snacking key to educational success By Daniel Bell Staff Writer

All food experts agree, a good day at school should begin with a good, nutritious breakfast, followed by a healthy, filling lunch, and any snacking in between should consist of low-sugar food items, such as fruit or whole wheat crackers. “Many of our students don’t have the proper nutrition at home,” said Brandy Money, director of school nutrition for Rome City Schools, explaining that a healthy meal leads to a healthy mind. As elementary school aged children go through remarkable physical changes of all kinds, their food intake becomes a critical aspect of this growth and development. Recent research shows that nourishing food not only makes a child healthier, it makes him emotionally more stable, and it improves school performance. Money said schools aim to offer a variety of healthy options so students get plenty to eat and enjoy their meal. The offers include a range of fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and dairies, and Money enjoys watching kids try new items for the first time. “That’s what excites me, when maybe the parents don’t like something so they don’t fix it at home, but he child tries it at school and loves it,” she said. Money said treats like ice cream and cookies are OK in moderation, but the key is to cut back if kids are craving candy every day. There are plenty of healthy alternatives, she said.

During the summer break the state of Georgia adopted a set of national benchmarks that detail what students should learn in each grade and what they should know before they graduate high school. When Georgia signed on there were about 20 other states already on board with the Common Core State Standards. The sweeping education benchmarks released in May aim to replace a hodgepodge of academic goals varying wildly from state to state with a uniform set of expectations for students. Under Common Core, a third-grader should know

how to write a complex sentence and add fractions, no matter if they live in Georgia or California. And an eighth-grader should understand the Pythagorean theorem. “This is a major step in helping the state of Georgia graduate more students not only from your institutions, but also from mine and the technical college system,” said Willis Potts, chairman of the Georgia Board of Regents overseeing the state’s public colleges and universities. “We’re not only interested in post-secondary access, we’re interested in postsecondary success.” Please see CORE 5

Breakfast A child in the classroom whose last meal was dinner the night before has gone about sixteen hours without food, and that child is hungry, whether he knows it or not. A nutritious breakfast will provide energy for several hours — until lunch, in fact. All area schools offer breakfast, often called the most important meal of the day, for students, but healthy meals can be made at home too. Here are a few breakfast items that start the kids out right for the day: orange juice, bananas, apple juice, wheat germ, wheat toast, oatmeal, chopped nuts, raisins, eggs and yogurt.

Lunch For most parents, this is the easy part, because the school does all the work. And work is the right word too, because Rome City Schools fed an average of 4,959 children per day last school year. For parents who prefer a sack lunch, experts say make sure to provide variety and remember that fruits and vegetables are better than chips and cookies.

Snacking Most youngsters arrive home wanting and needing an immediate energy boost. To many youngsters a snack automatically means something sweet, however, sugar should be removed from the diet as much as possible, save for special occasions. Healthy options: Chunks of cheese, sliced veggies, fruit, nuts, pretzels, trail mix, popcorn or wheat crackers. Rome News-Tribune

SATURDAY, July 24, 2010


Immunizations as important as ever By Rod Guajardo Staff Writer

Before returning to school this August all parents should ensure their children’s 3231 immunization form is up to date with all the proper vaccinations required by Georgia schools. The state of Georgia requires all children entering school to have vaccinations to protect against the following: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B, Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib), Measles, Mumps, Pertussis (whooping cough), Polio, Rubella (German measles), Tetanus (lockjaw) and Varicella zoster (chickenpox). While not a requirement in order to attend school, vaccinations for the following are recommended for all children attending Georgia schools: Human papillomavirus, Influenza, Meningococcal disease and Rotavirus. Marie Smith, Floyd County Health Department immunization coordinator, said ensuring all children attending school are vaccinated is extremely important. “Without the vaccines these

Ken Caruthers / Rome News-Tribune

Floyd County Health Department nurse Vera Williamson (left) gives a shot to Ariyona Henry, 4, while her mother Candis holds her. children are more susceptible to types of infection disease,” Smith catch disease such a Varicella said. “Without that protection the chicken pox and all different vaccinations provide, it makes

Experts say students require more sleep than their parents By Nick Godfrey Staff Writer

After buying the pencils, notebooks and bookbag but before arriving to school for the first day, one of the most important parts of going back to school takes place: sleep. “Sleep is a vital need that is essential to a child’s health and growth,” said Jill Hawkins of Floyd Medical Center’s Sleep Disorders Center. “Sleep promotes alertness, memory and performance.” Hawkins explained that children that get enough sleep are more likely to function better and are less prone to behavioral problems and moodiness. According to the National Sleep Foundation, infants, 3 to 11 months, should get 14 to 15 hours of sleep, toddlers, 12 to 35 months,


Nick Godfrey / Rome News-Tribune

Three-year-old Samara Smith sleeps during naptime at Kids’ Stop on Dean Street. Experts say she requires 13 hours of sleep per 24-hour day. should get 12 to 14 hours of sleep, preschoolers, 3 to 5 years old, should get at least 13 hours of sleep, kindergarteners should get 12 to 13 hours of sleep, kids in grades first through fifth should get 10 to 11 hours of sleep and teenagers should

SATURDAY, July 24, 2010

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get around nine hours of sleep. Hawkins said that children can also have some of the same sleep disorders that many adults suffer from. Please see SLEEP 7

them higher at risk to eventually contract an infection or disease.” Smith said parents may choose to exempt their children from required vaccinations for two different reasons. First, a parent can exempt a child on the basis of religious beliefs. “If anyone has a religious belief that prevents them from providing immunizations to their children, they just need a statement notarizing that they are exempt from those vaccinations,” Smith said. Second, parents can exempt their children for medical reasons, such as if the child is allergic to the vaccine or has a medical condition that prevents them from being able to receive the vaccination. In such cases, a note from a doctor explaining the child’s situation will exempt them from the required vaccinations. Smith said students heading to college should be aware that some Universities also have required vaccinations that may vary from Georgia schools. Please see SHOTS 7

CORE from 3 State education department officials will spend the next year training teachers on the new standards, which nearly match what the state already has in place. Terri Snelling, Floyd County Schools’ director of school improvement, said the adoption of the standards won’t lead to any major changes in the classroom because the Georgia Performance Standards are already in line with those outlines by Common Core. A study by Achieve, a Washington, D.C.-based education nonprofit, shows that Georgia’s current standards match 90 percent of Common Core in math and 81 percent of them in English language arts. The standards will be in place for the 2011-12 school year. Contributed photo The standards were produced by the National Gov- Three of Rome’s private schools, including Darlington, ernors Association and the require their students to wear uniforms. The Darlington Council of Chief State student above is wearing his uniform. School Officers. It marks the first time states have joined to determine what students should know when they get a high school diploma. The federal government was not involved but has encouraged the project, including adoption of the standards as part of the scoring in the U.S. Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” grant competition. President Barack Obama has said he wants to make money from Title I — the federal government’s biggest school aid program — contingent on adoption of college- and career-ready reading and math standards. All but two states — Alaska and Texas — signed on to the original concept of Common Core more than a year ago. Virginia and Minnesota have both chosen not to adopt Common Core because educators there say the states’ standards are already more rigorous than that. Staff writer Daniel Bell contributed to this report.

How to dress the part: What to wear to school By Chelsea Latta Staff Writer

When shopping to find the latest trends for the upcoming school year, your school’s dress codes are definitely something to consider. According to the Floyd County Board of Education website, dress codes for all Floyd County Schools include appropriate shirts — no tanks or tube tops — skirts or dresses must be an acceptable length, clothes must fit appropriately, shoes must be worn at all times, no unpatriotic displays of the American Flag, hats are prohibited in school unless during a special event, no vulgar, profane, or sexually suggestive slogans, and gang related items are prohibited. Rome City Schools has a similar list of guidelines: shirts and dresses must not be revealing, nothing that reveals midriff or chest, no tank tops, clothes must fit appropriately, no clothes with bad

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language or imagery, boys must keep shirts tucked in at all times, shorts, skirts, and pants must be worn at the waist exposing no under garments, shorts and skirts must be an appropriate length, and dressing overly casual (pajamas) is prohibited. “I believe students should come to school to focus on learning and they should dress comfortable and attractive. We don’t want clothes to distract others, we want them to dress in a business casual manner so we’re teaching them school content while also preparing them for college and a job,” said Rome City Schools Superintendent Gayland Cooper. According to Anne Paige Wilson, the director of marketing at Darlington, all three divisions of the school are required to wear the traditional uniforms, but the students are given a variety of spirit and free days. Please see DRESS 7

SATURDAY, July 24, 2010



l Residential student orientation: Aug. 15 l First day of school: l First day of school: Aug. 2 Aug. 16 l Progress reports: Sept. 2 l Labor Day holiday: l Labor Day: Sept. 6 Sept. 6 l Fall break: Oct. 4-8 l Fall break: Oct. 20 (half l Reports cards: Oct. 14 day)-24) l Progress reports: Nov. 11 l Thanksgiving break: l Thanksgiving holiday: Nov. 19 (half day)-29 Nov. 24-26 l Christmas break: Dec. l Teacher work day/stu17 (half day)- Jan. 2 dent holiday: Dec. 17 l Class resumes: Jan. 3 l Winter holiday: Dec. l Martin Luther King Jr. 20-31 holiday, school closed): l Classes resume: Jan. 4 Jan. 17 l Reports cards: Jan. 6 l Winter break: Feb. 10 l Martin Luther King Jr. (half day)-Feb. 14 Day, schools closed: Jan. 17 l Spring break: March 18 l Progress reports: Feb. 10 (half day)-March 27 l Winter break: Feb. 14-15 l Easter break: April 22 l Schools closed: March 14 (half day)-25 l Report cards: March 17 l Upper School Honors l Spring holidays: March Day: May 13, 1:30 p.m. 28-April 1 l Baccalaureate: May 14 l Progress reports: April 21 l Commencement Exerl Last day of school: May 20 cises: May 15, 9:30 a.m. l Rome High School l Middle School Final graduation: May 21 Assembly: May 19 l Lower School Awards Floyd County Assembly (Grades K-4): May 26, 10:30 a.m. Schools l School year ends: May 27 l First day of school: Aug. 9 Georgia School l Labor Day: Sept. 6 for the Deaf l Early release days: Sept. 29-Oct. 1 l Registration: Aug. 8 l Fall break: Oct. 4-8 l First day of school: l Thanksgiving holiday: Aug. 9 Nov. 22-26 l Labor Day: Sept. 6 l End of first semester: l No class: Oct. 18 Dec. 17 l Thanksgiving holiday: l Winter holiday: Dec. Nov. 22-26 20-31 l Winter holiday: Dec. 20-31 l Classes resume: Jan. 4 l Classes resume: Jan. 2 l Martin Luther King Jr. l Martin Luther King Jr. Day, schools closed: Jan. 17 Day, schools closed: Jan. 17 l Early release days: l Teacher workday, no Jan. 21-Feb. 1 classes: Jan. 27-29 l Winter intersession: l No classes: March 25 Feb. 2-4 l Spring break: April 18-22 l Teacher planning day, l No classes: April 25 schools closed: March 11 l No classes: May 9 l Spring intersession: l Last day of school: May 27 March 14-18 l Graduation: May 27 l Spring holidays: April 18-April 22 Saint Mary’s l Last day of school: May 27 l Graduation dates: TBA Cathloic School

Darlington School l International move-in day: Aug. 12 l Residential move-in days: Aug. 14-15 l Upper School day student orientation: Aug. 13 (early registration) and Aug. 14


l Orientation: Aug. 6 l First day of school: Aug. 9 l Teacher planning meetings, dismissal at 1 p.m.: Sept. 3 l Labor Day: Sept. 6 l Teacher professional inservice day, no school for students: Sept. 7

SATURDAY, July 24, 2010

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GSD: Aug. 8 l Rome: Aug. 2 Unity: Aug. 12 l Floyd: Aug. 9 BCEMS: Aug. 5 Montessori: Aug. 12 St. Mary’s: Aug. 9 Darlington: Aug. 12

Unity Christian School

l First day of school: Aug. 12 l Noon dismissal: Sept. 3 l Labor Day: Sept. 6 l Progress reports: Sept. 7 l Fall break: Oct. 6-8 l Report cards: Sept. 28 l Report card l Noon dismissal: Oct. 7 conferences, dismissial l Fall break: Oct. 8-11 at 1 p.m.: Oct. 22 l Progress reports: Oct. 19 l Teacher planning meet- l Report cards: Nov. 9 ings, dismissal at 1 p.m.: l Noon dismissal: Nov. 23 Nov. 12 l Thanksgiving holiday: l Thanksgiving holiday: Nov. 24-26 Nov. 24-26 l Progress reports: Dec. 7 l Christmas holiday: Dec. l Noon dismissal: Dec. 17 20-Jan. 3 l Winter holiday: Dec. 20l Teacher retreat day, no Jan. 3 school for students: Jan. 3 l Classes resume: Jan. 4 l Classes resume: Jan. 4 l Report cards: Jan. 11 l Martin Luther King Jr. l Martin Luther King Jr. Day, schools closed: Jan. 17 Day, schools closed: Jan. 17 l Teacher planning meet- l Progress reports: Feb. 3 ings, dismissal at 1 p.m.: l Noon dismissal: Feb. 18 Feb. 4 l Report cards: Feb. 24 l Winter break: Feb. l Spring break: March 14-18 23-25 l Progress reports: l Report card March 24 conferences, dismissial l Report cards: April 14 at 1 p.m.: March 18 l Good Friday, no school: l Spring holidays: March April 22 28-April 1 l Progress reports: May 10 l Teacher planning meetings, dismissal at 1 p.m.: April 21 l Easter break: April 22-25 l Last day of school, dismissal at noon: May 27

Berry College Elementary and Middle Schools l First day of school: Aug. 5 l Labor Day: Sept. 6 l Day on the Mountain, early release day: Oct. 1 l Fall break: Oct 11-12 l Thanksgiving holiday: Nov. 22-26 l Holiday parties, early dismissal: Dec. 17 l Winter holiday: Dec. 20-Jan. 3 l Classes resume: Jan. 4 l Martin Luther King Jr. Day, schools closed: Jan. 17 l Presidents’ Day, schools closed: Feb. 21 l Kindergarten wedding, early release day: March 11 l Spring holidays: March 14-18 l Good Friday, schools closed: April 22 l Last day of school, early dismissal: May 20

l Report cards: May 24 l Last day of school, noon dismissal: May 24

Montessori School of Rome l First day of school for new students, students moving programs: Aug. 12 l All students return to school: Aug. 13 l Labor Day: Sept. 6 l Teacher observations, no school: Oct. 4 l Parent/teacher conferences, no school: Oct. 5 l Thanksgiving holiday: Nov. 24-26 l Teacher workday, no school: Dec. 17 l Winter holiddays: Dec. 17-31 l Classes resume: Jan. 3 l Martin Luther King Jr. Day, schools closed: Jan. 17 l Parent/teacher conferences, no school: March 14 l Spring holidays: March 28-April 1 l Good Friday, early release: April 22 l Last day of school, early release: May 20

SHOTS from 4 “Most colleges require vaccinations to protect against Meningitis, Tetanus and Hepatitis B,” Smith said. “If they have been going through the Georgia school system they should have all the necessary requirements.” A program, Vaccines for Children, offers vaccinations for children who might not otherwise

receive vaccines because of financial barriers or who might receive vaccines late because they would be referred to another setting for free vaccines, according to the Georgia Department of Community Health website. The website lists four conditions in which children as old as 19 years of age are eligible: Medicaid enrolled, uninsured (child has no health insurance coverage), underinsured (child has health insurance but immu-

nizations are not a covered benefit) or American Indian or Alaska Native. Smith said forms are available at local health departments that determine if the child is eligible and begins the process for the child to receive free or reduced rates vaccinations. For more information about the Vaccines for Children program or on the required immunization for schools, contact the Floyd County Health Department at 706-295-6123.

SLEEP from 4 Some of those include obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy. Although indicators of a sleep issue are often more subtle in children, common signs of sleep disturbance are daytime sleepiness, unexplained irritablility, difficulty in concentrating, unexplained headaches especially morning headaches and restless or unrefreshing sleep at night. “Treatment options vary depending upon the age of the individual and the diagnosis. For instance, if a child has obstructive sleep apnea secondary to enlarged tonsils and adenoids, treatment options may include removal of the tonsils and adenoids,” she said. “Some of the other sleep disorders can be managed with good sleep hygiene practices or medications.” Hawkins stated that sleep problems do not magically disappear, so it is important for parents to identify them early. She also said it is important for parents to start helping their children develop good sleep habits early on. “Getting a good night’s rest is the foundation for a successful day. When a child doesn’t sleep well it can impact family relationships, friendships and school work,” Hawkins said. For more information call the FMC Sleep Disorder Center at 706-5095160.

NEW YEAR from 2 Hensley said that the Model High School community was excited to finally get into the new building and that some of the traffic problems from last year should finally be resolved. “We know that there were some problems because Model Elementary and Model High School shared a driveway up until last year,” Hensley said. “This year we’re planning ahead and will be sending out information to parents about the traffic situation and hopefully that will solve the problem.” Overall, Hensley said the whole system is looking forward to getting back to the business of teaching. “We’re looking forward to another great year and we’re looking to get more parents involved when we’re looking to elect our local school governance teams,” he said. Hensley said that the school start date was pushed back in order to help accommodate 10 furlough days for teachers. He said they decided to spread them out over the year instead of using teacher planning days so teachers would still be able to use the time to create lesson plans.

Darlington School

Contributed photo

Saint Mary’s School students wear different uniforms during the different seasons of the year. Officials say it allows students to focus on learning.

DRESS from 5 Darlington’s uniform includes khaki pants and a white, purple, or yellow polo shirt for the boys, and a khaki or plaid shirts and a polo shirt for girls. Uniforms are dressed up on Wednesdays. “Our uniform policy was created to maintain an official standard of dress and to encourage everyone to focus attention on what is inside a student rather than the outward appearance,” Wilson said. At Saint Mary’s, students are also required to wear uniforms that consist of a skort and a polo type shirt for girls in the warm weather, in the winter a polo-type shirt, and they can choose between pants or jumpers with leggings. Boys where shorts and polo-type shirt in the warm weather and pants and polo-type shirt in the winter. “Wearing uniforms is very easy and comfortable. When students put

them on it shows that they come to learn not to focus on what they are wearing,” said Christa Jackson, assistant principal at Staint Mary’s. For Unity Christian School the regular uniforms include khaki or navy slacks, shorts and polo shirts. Girls can choose between skorts, capri pants and jumpers. On Chapel Day, boys wear slacks, oxford shirt, and a tie and girls — kindergarten through third-graders wear jumpers or skirts, and the older girls wear oxford shirts and cross. “Uniforms create a sense of belonging and pride. They encourage respect for authority and others. By wearing uniforms, some peer-pressure to have the newest, latest style is diminished, which allows students to focus more on their academic studies and less on who is wearing what. As long as the uniform code is adhered to, modesty is not an issue,” said Valerie Stepp, the director of admissions at Unity Christian School.

Darlington School’s calendar for students is somewhat different that the public schools. International students are allowed to start moving in Aug. 12, followed by the residential student move-in during the weekend of Aug. 14 and 15. The first semester for classes at the Upper School will start Aug. 16. Darlington didn’t report any major rule changes for the middle and upper schools this year, but the middle school does have a new headmaster. What students and parents will likely be focusing on is academic performance throughout the year, especially for those in the upper school. Darlington academic dean David Powell said parents at the school won’t have traditional report cards for students in the lower school, but instead narrative progress reports for how students are doing in learning skills. Powell’s biggest piece of advice no matter where children go to school is: “Read. Read. Read.” “All of the research shows that the more you read, the earlier you read and the more continual basis you read, the better prepared you are for academics and college,” he said. “And it doesn’t matter what you’re reading as long as you’re reading by choice and continually immersed in reading,” said Powell.

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SATURDAY, July 24, 2010



SATURDAY, July 24, 2010

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All the information needed to get kids and parents ready to go back to school in Rome and Floyd County Georgia.