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Atmore schools ready to start

By By Janet Little Cooper
Alarm clocks will be sounding far and wide tomorrow morning as Atmore students get ready for the first day of school.
Huxford Elementary and Rachel Patterson will not only greet the youngest and the newest of the school aged children, but will also be welcoming new faces to the school staff.
"I am looking forward to another great year," Huxford principal Betty Warren said. "We have a lot of new faces this year with two new teachers and one new teacher's aide."
Rachel Patterson on the other hand, has one big change in store for the students as they return Thursday.
Susan McKenzie will be taking the place of principal after the resignation of former principal Beth Drew.
"Starting school has always been exciting and a bit hectic with all of the things needing to be done," McKenzie said. "This year is no exception. I feel that sense of excitement and I am busy, indeed, with many new and different tasks that go along with being a new administrator. I had a great first meeting with my faculty and staff. I can already tell that they are going to be a wonderful
team to work with. Many parents have been by registering their students. It has been great to meet some of them! As I said, I am excited, but I cannot wait until the first day with the students. They are always excited about meeting their new teacher and seeing what friends are in their classroom. There is always a little apprehension about the new year also.
I love having the opportunity to meet them at the door and assuring them that this is going to be the BEST year ever!!! We will be continuing with all of the strategies and techniques learned last year through ARI/ARFI. Reading will continue to be top priority at RPES. I want to say that I truly feel blessed to be at RPES. I am eager to see what lies ahead–we are looking for a GREAT year."
Reading will be a high priority at A.C. Moore elementary as well as the school implements the Alabama Reading Initiative for the second year in a row with the third grade students.
"This will be our second year of ARI for the third grade," A.C. Moore principal David Nolan said. "We also plan to incorporate some of the ARI strategies in the fourth grade as well. We don't plan on doing too much in that area, because our fourth graders scored higher in the SAT-10 and ARM than they did last year. We don't want to fix something that isn't broken. This will also be our second year to have special education inclusion where the students are streamlined into a normal classroom setting with assistance."
Middle school students will continue to be held accountable for their learning process, as Escambia County Middle School principal Zickeyous Byrd works to keep the school on board with the Academic Yearly Progress (AYP).
Escambia County High School has been busy preparing for a new year and a new influx of freshman and teachers.
"We are very excited about the new teachers we have," ECHS principal Kyle Ferguson said. "The veteran teachers are welcoming them with open arms. We have a variety of new things that we are offering. A remedial class for the Grad exam is being offered this year as an elective for those students who can benefit from it and then among the other elective classes never offered before are guitar, speech, music appreciation and psychology. We will also offer after-school tutoring for students free of charge."