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The pencils have been sharpened, the buses have been washed and the teachers are at the ready. It's time to head back to school.
School starts on Tuesday for Campbellsville, Taylor County and Kentucky Christian Academy students.
And school officials say students will see some changes when heading back to the classroom this year, from new teachers to new buildings and more.
In perhaps the biggest change this school year, some students at Campbellsville schools will head to class in different buildings next week.
Campbellsville Elementary School students will go to their classes at the former Campbellsville Middle School building. And CMS students will learn at the former CES building.
Campbellsville Superintendent Mike Deaton says his staff members are working to get the finishing touches on the buildings so students can learn in their new environment.
He said the remodel has included refurbishing restrooms to make sure they are appropriate for the age of students at each building and easier for custodial staff members to maintain. Playground equipment is being moved, lights are being installed on the district's football field and more.
"Everyone is working extremely hard to have the buildings ready for the change, and in some cases working into the weekends to see that everything is in place. Our custodians have been amazing and the staff has been patient and understanding, despite a few bumps along the way," he said.
Deaton said he is sure some people won't be pleased with the change in buildings, but he believes the change will allow district staff members to better meet the needs of all its students.
"I would just like to ask our students, parents, guardians and school community to be patient and work with us as we transition into our new surroundings. We aren't perfect and as such there will be some glitches. However, when all is said and done, we can help make a much better learning environment for our kids. And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about."
Lunch this year will once again be free for all Campbellsville students.
Across town at Taylor County Schools, Superintendent Roger Cook said students will see changes this year as a result of the district being named a District of Innovation. The district is one of four in the state to receive the distinction.
He said he has met with the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Professional Standards Board members and received permission to do some creative placement of students in career-ready positions that is typically not allowed.
"We have more freedom in the movement of teachers to teach creative courses. We are able to use community business and industry to get students career ready," he said.
"We are in the process of developing a one-room school house on rocket boosters. This class will have students of various ages and grades with multiple teachers collaborating with each other to better prepare students for college- and career-ready jobs. There will be a lot of changes this year."
For back-to-school safety tips, read this story online at www.cknj.com.
Campbellsville Elementary School
CES Principal Ricky Hunt said his school operates on an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule. The school day includes a health and wellness class, intervention and literacy and activity blocks and instructional time.
If students have bought their school supplies, Hunt said, they are encouraged to bring them on the first day so labels can be placed on them.
Students and parents should also return their registration paperwork and teachers should know how the student will travel home.
Hunt said his students will face lots of changes with their new school building.
"The elementary will have a whole new look to all our students," he said. "We have added three beautiful murals to our walls for the students."
There will also be some teachers and assistants, he said.
The pick up and drop off process will also be different. Hunt said parents will drop off and pick up students at the north end parking lot, the area off of Martin Luther King Boulevard. The front loop of the school is for buses only.
Hunt said the new building is a welcome change.
"We are extremely excited about getting the new year started in a true primary center. The teachers, custodial and maintenance staff have worked hard to the summer to get us in our new location in a very timely manner.
"We thank everyone included for all the help they have put in to get us in our new location. In the few short weeks we have had to prepare, I can truly say we have made this building our new elementary home. This change has and will continue to benefit our district greatly."
Students new to CES can register on the first day, Hunt said, and all parents should be sure the school has their up-to-date phone numbers and addresses.
Campbellsville Middle School
New CMS Principal Elisha Rhodes, and a few other new staff members, will greet CMS students on the first day of school.
School begins at 8 a.m. and student will attend classes on a period schedule. For the first day, Rhodes said, students need to bring the school supplies they were asked to purchase on a list they were given during open house.
Rhodes said students will notice many changes made to their new school, the former CES building.
"A lot of hard work has gone into the preparation of our building to transform the prior CES location into the current middle school," she said.
"All staff members, and many volunteers have done a tremendous job of preparing our building for the start of school."
Rhodes said the drop off and pick up process will be new this year, since students are at a new building, and information about this will be shared with parents. She said staff members will also help parents and students.
New students are welcome to register on the first day of class, Rhodes said.
She said students need to remember that the first day of school is also school picture day.
Campbellsville High School
CHS Principal Kirby Smith said students at his school will also see some changes as a result of the district's reconfiguration. Some classrooms have been moved.
Students will also see some new CHS personnel this year, he said.
Class at CHS begins at 8 a.m. and students operate on a six-period day with time set aside for student intervention.
Smith said his teachers vary in what they require for students to bring to school, so students should come prepared with a pen and notebook to make a list.
Taylor County Elementary School
At TCES, Principal Donna Williams said the day will begin at 8 a.m. and ends at 2:50 p.m.
For the first day, students only need to bring a pencil and paper. But if they have already purchased their school supplies, she said, students can bring them.
TCES students will be greeted by a few new teachers this year, Williams said.
Something that won't change this year, she said, is the drop off and pick up process. If parents want to walk their children in and pick them up, they must do so at the front door. And each parent will get three pickup cards to place inside their vehicles or to share with an emergency contact. Those who receive the cards must be listed on the student's pickup list at the school office.
Lunch at TCES will cost $1.60. Breakfast is $1.
New TCES students are welcome to register on the first day, Williams said.
"We encourage parents to come before the first day so the child will begin with their peers," she said. "However, we will still register students on the first day."
Taylor County Middle School
At TCMS, secretary Pam Huddleston said, school begins at 8 a.m. and students shouldn't be dropped off any earlier than 7:30. Students only need to bring a pencil and notebook for the first day, she said.
Not much has changed at TCMS, according to Huddleston, with the exception being a few new teachers and staff members.
There are no changes this year to student pick up and drop off procedures, she said. All students should be dropped off in the front of the school. Sixth-graders are to be picked at the back of the side of the school nearest to Gatti's Pizza. Seventh- and eighth-grade students should be picked at the front of the school.
Lunch at TCMS is $1.85 for students. Breakfast is $1.
Huddleston said students can register to attend TCMS on the first day. Any student coming from out of state will need a Kentucky physical, eye and dental exams and immunization certificate.
She said all sixth-grade students are required to have a physical and updated immunization certificate.
Taylor County High School
TCHS Principal Charles Higdon Jr. said class at TCHS begins at 8:05 a.m. and doors open at 7:30. Classes operate on a seven-period schedule.
He said students should have received school supply lists on bump up day last school year, so they should bring those supplies and paper and pen/pencil.
Drop off procedures are the same as last year, he said, and new students are welcome on the first day.
"We look forward to another great school year," he said.
Kentucky Christian Academy
The school day at KCA begins at 8:15 a.m. and students should bring their school supplies with them on the first day, if they haven't already been dropped off at the KCA office.
KCA students will see a new teacher this year. Lauren Thornsberry will teach third grade.
Sonbeams and preschool students should be brought in each morning and taken to their classroom.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade can be dropped off at the cafeteria door in the mornings and then picked up in the afternoons.
School lunch this year will cost $3.35.
According to the KCA office, there are openings in Sonbeams, kindergarten and second- through fifth-grade. Students can register on the first day.
After the first day of school, KCA students will gather at City Pool for a pool party from 4 to 6 p.m.
Back to School Series
This is the fourth of five stories with information to help students and parents prepare to head back to school. The series is as follows:
• July 22 - Orientations
• July 25 - Dress codes
• July 29 - Bus routes and calendars
• Aug. 1 - Starting times
• Aug. 5 - School supplies
Photos from the first day of school at Campbellsville, Taylor County and Kentucky Christian Academy will be published in the Aug. 8 issue.
Making the First Day Easier
• Remind children they are not the only students who are a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
• Point out the positive aspects of starting school. It will be fun. Students will see old friends and meet new ones.
• Find another child in the neighborhood students can walk to school or ride with on the bus.
• If parents believe it is appropriate, they should drive their child, or walk with them, to school and pick them up after the first day.
• Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
• Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student's body weight.
• Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
• Consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must carry a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs and they can be difficult to roll in snow.
Traveling To and From School
• Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
• Do not move around on the bus.
• Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing.
• Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.
• All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
• Children should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and then in a belt-positioning booster seat. A child is ready for a booster seat when she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots or her ears have reached the top of the seat.
• Children should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's seat belt fits properly, usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age. This means the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat, the lap belt is low and snug across the thighs, not the stomach, and the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down.
• All children younger than 13 should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If a parent must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat, when carpooling for example, move the front-seat passenger's seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.
• Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. Parents should limit the number of teen passengers to prevent driver distraction and this is even required by law in many states. Do not allow a teen to drive while eating, drinking, or talking on a cell phone.
• Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
• Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
• Use appropriate hand signals.
• Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
• Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
• Know the "rules of the road."
Walking to School
• Make sure a child's walk to a school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
• Be realistic about a child's pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not a child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
• Bright colored clothing will make a child more visible to drivers.
Bus Safety Tips
Kentucky has more than 1,200 schools. More than 648,000 children and teens depend on buses to get them safely to and from school every day. They also depend on us to know the law and drive safely around school buses.
• Stop for flashing red lights on a school bus.
• Continue driving once the flashing lights stop and the bus starts to move.
• Violations can lead to a $1,000 fine.
Safety Tips for Motorists
• Obey the posted speed limit.
• Fines can be double in school zones.
• Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.
• Watch for children who might dart across the street to catch the bus.
Safety Tips for Students
Respect school bus drivers and follow these rules:
• Stand far back when you are waiting for the bus.
• Sit still so the driver can pay attention to the road.
• Look both ways when crossing the street after getting off the bus, or wait for the driver to signal it's safe to cross the street.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
• Yield to vehicles on the roadway when crossing the street at a place other than a marked crosswalk or pedestrian tunnel or crossing.
• Stay on sidewalks and the right-hand side of crosswalks. Drivers are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
• If the road has no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
• Always cross at intersections. Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
• Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
• As a passenger, get in or out of a car on the curbside of the street.
• Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street.
-Kentucky Division of Emergency Management