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Schools offer quality, diverse education for all

By Staff
In covering Principal for a Day and the extended day program, we were again pleasantly surprised at some of the happenings in our local schools.
In today's edition of The Advance, we have a story about students learning to dance, singing in a chorus and taking violin lessons. These programs are not offered during the regular school day, but are offered, as the name says, in extended day. Students stay after school for dance and strings. They come in on Saturday for chorus lessons – at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
We discovered a classroom at Escambia County High School filled with driving simulators courtesy of a grant obtained by Gloria Fowler with the Escambia County school system. Teacher Keith Nall had simulators in his classroom before, but some of the turn signals didn't work and there were other mechanical problems. Now, he has all new equipment for his students.
A.C. Moore Elementary teacher Sissy Phillips has students who compete for "first chair" status in the computer lab. They're tackling subjects on computer, working at their own pace – as fast as they can advance or as slowly as they need to in order to get a firm grasp of the material. The computer tracks their work – the speed and accuracy – and seating is arranged according to the standings. Phillips said there is no jealousy, no animosity in the classroom. There is the drive to be the best. She overheard a student tell his friend sitting in first chair, "Don't get too comfortable there. I'm coming."
Spanish. Computer labs. Keyboarding. Ballet. Art. The list goes on.
And now, the Navy will have an ROTC program at Escambia County High School. If this program is anything like the one at Northview High School, it will indeed be an asset to our students and community.
Lavan Martin, commander of VFW Post 7016, was particularly delighted to learn that the ROTC will be a reality. Members of the VFW and American Legion Post 90 have assisted in securing this program for Atmore.
When serving as Principal for a Day last week, Louie Turner III said he was amazed at the "diversity of activities" going on at the middle school.
We couldn't agree more. But we would add the other schools to that.
During a recent county-wide competition at Escambia County Middle School, we overheard a student from elsewhere in the county say, "This school is so nice. I wish our school was like this."
Our collective chest swelled a little – the same way it swells when one of our schools scores highest on the SAT or comes in first in a county-wide competition.
We want our schools to be the best in the county.
We want our students to be first chair.