School bells ring in Atmore

Published 7:28 am Monday, August 13, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Classrooms, lunchrooms, gyms and band rooms were buzzing Thursday as Atmore area students filed back into the halls of their respective schools to begin the 2007-08 school year.
Principals around Atmore said the first day of school was successful and they each hope to have a great year.
"The day has gone very smoothly," A.C. Moore Elementary School principal David Nolin said. "They (the students) are excited and the parents are even more excited."
Nolin said he feels 2007-08 will be a successful year for A.C. Moore.
"I feel like we are going to have an outstanding year," he said. "The teachers and students are all very excited."
Escambia County Middle School principal Zickeyous Byrd said the first day at ECMS was also a day of excitement.
"It is going great," Byrd said. "The students are all excited and the teachers are all excited and I believe it's going to be a great year."
This is the inaugural year for the ECMS Preparatory School program, which is where a set number of ECMS eighth graders are permitted to take ninth grade courses.
"The preparatory school started off great," Byrd said. "All the children were here in their gold shirts and they were very noticeable. The year has begun with a great start."
Donna Silcox, first-year principal at Huxford Elementary School, said her faculty and staff, along with the students have also been thrilled to be back at HES.
"It has been wonderful," she said. "They've all been very excited. I had some of the students come in and tell me they were really happy that I'm their principal and they hugged my neck. I think this is going to be an outstanding year."
Rachel Patterson Elementary School principal Susan McKenzie said the first day at RPES was full of busy teachers and smiling students.
"This day has gone so smoothly," McKenzie said. "There have been no problems, the children got here on time and they were so excited to be here. I don't think it could go any smoother, the kids are all smiling. The teachers did a fantastic job of being where they are supposed to be and they were working so hard. It has been a great day."
McKenzie said she anticipates a good year for everyone at RPES.
"From what I'm seeing right now, the year is going to be awesome," McKenzie said. "Everybody's looking forward to a fantastic year."
The school in Atmore that has the most going on this year is Escambia County High School. With the resignation of former principal, Kyle Ferguson, and former assistant principal, David McKinley, the Escambia County Board of Education was in a scramble to find a new principal.
Now, Carl Raley has the reigns at ECHS and he said everything at the high school is smooth sailing.
"So far, so good," Raley said. "Everything is running, attitudes are good and the halls are clear and clean. We're doing really well. We're headed in the right direction with our new beginning."
ECHS has a lot of new things going on with the new Web-based courses and video conferencing courses.
Students with busy or conflicting schedules will have the opportunity to take certain courses online. The most popular courses the students have chosen thus far, according to the online course instructor Alison Fournier, include creative writing and psychology. However, students may take courses in foreign language, English, social studies, math, art, science and other electives online. Fournier said she has at least 66 students taking the online courses.
Another new project at ECHS is video conferencing courses, where Pat Taylor will be teaching students at ECHS Spanish and students at W.S. Neal High School in East Brewton can also see and hear Taylor teach. Taylor directly teaches her students at ECHS, but she can also see her WSN students on a TV monitor and they see her on a TV monitor.
Escambia Academy students do not begin until Monday at 7:45 a.m. The late bell at EA will ring at 7:48 a.m. Principal Betty Warren was not available for comment at press time.

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