Schools plan open houses, orientations

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By Calen McKinney



It's about time for students to once again get up early and head to school.

But before the school bell rings on the first day, local schools will have open houses and orientation nights to make sure students and parents have information they need to make sure the year is a success.

Local school officials say having such events is a way to ensure parents get any questions they have answered and students ease any anxiety they might have about heading back to the classroom.

At Taylor County Schools, students attend Bump Up Day at the end of each year. This is an opportunity for students to advance to the next grade level for a day, to get an idea of what it will be like.

"This day helps ease nerves and jitters about beginning a new school year," Taylor County Elementary School Principal Donna Williams said. "Students will start the year having already spent a full day in their new classroom."

Campbellsville and Taylor County students will head back to class on Wednesday, Aug. 6, while Kentucky Christian Academy students' first day of the new school year is Tuesday, Aug. 5.

Listed below is information about open houses and orientation nights at the local school systems.

Calendars for the new school year are printed as sidebars to this story.

Campbellsville Elementary School

Campbellsville Elementary School will host a registration night/open house tonight.

Those students who haven't attended school in the District before are asked to come to the school - the former Campbellsville Middle School on Roberts Road - at 4 p.m.

Kindergarteners and first-graders are asked to come to the school at 4:30 p.m., and second- and third-graders at 5.

CES Principal Ricky Hunt said his school provides an opportunity each year for students and parents to visit the school during an open house.

"This time at the school eliminates a lot of those uneasy feelings," he said. "During the open house, the students and parents get a chance to speak with the teachers/staff and get comfortable with the school/classroom."

Campbellsville Middle School

Campbellsville Middle School will host open house/registration Thursday, July 31.

Those in grades four and five are asked to come to the CMS building, which is the former CES on West Main Street, from 5 to 6 p.m. Students in grades six through eight will attend from 6 to 7.

Any students who are new to the school can register and should bring their birth certificate, Social Security card and immunization record.

CMS Principal Elisha Rhodes said the open house night is hosted to allow students the chance to get their schedules and meet their new teachers before the first day of school.

"This year, orientation will be our students' first look at our building transformations and parents can hear information on Leader in Me and our upcoming school year implementation," she said.

Read more about Leader in Me program and the work done to improve local schools in a story next Thursday.

Rhodes said it isn't mandatory that students attend the open house night, but it's encouraged.

Those attending are welcome to bring their school supplies to the open house, she said, if they like.

Campbellsville High School

Campbellsville High School will host freshman orientation on Monday, July 28, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors can register any time on Thursday, July 31, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

CHS Principal Kirby Smith said it's not mandatory that students attend orientation or come by on July 31, but it's a good way for them to become acclimated with the high school.

At the orientation, students will tour the school, pick up their schedule and meet their teachers. Smith said parents and students can also ask any questions they might have.

Those attending don't have to bring anything with them, but those students new to the District need to bring proof that they live within the city school limits.

Smith said he believes orientations are important to help students become familiar with their new surroundings. That can ease any stress freshmen might have about coming to a new building.

"I definitely think it will be beneficial," he said.

Last year's eighth-grade students all took classes at CHS, Smith said, so they are already somewhat familiar with the school. When Campbellsville Middle School was moved to the building adjoining CHS, he said, it became much easier for middle school students to take advanced classes.

Taylor County Elementary School

Taylor County Elementary School will enroll new students on Thursday, July 24, and Friday, July 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the school.

To enroll, parents must go to the Taylor County Board of Education office with their child's proof of residency, birth certificate, immunization records and Social Security card.

TCES will host a kindergarten transition camp from July 29 to Aug. 1.

TCES Principal Donna Williams said students will attend the camp on Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and lunch will be provided.

At camp, she said, students will have vision and hearing screenings and take the Brigance Kindergarten screener, which is required by state law.

On Friday, camp will be from 3 to 5 p.m., with a kindergarten kickoff from 5 to 7.

The kickoff, Williams said, is a time for parents to come to the school and meet their child's teachers and see their classroom.

For those in first through fifth grade, orientation will be Thursday, July 31, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Those whose names begin with A through L should attend from 5 to 6 p.m. Those whose last names begin with M through Z should come between 6:30 and 7:30.

Williams said students are welcome to bring their school supplies to orientation, and many do.

Attending orientation isn't mandatory, Williams said, but it helps students and parents who are a bit apprehensive about the new year.

"It is a fun time for everyone to see each other after the summer break."

Taylor County Middle School

Taylor County Middle School no longer has an orientation night, according to guidance secretary Pam Huddleston, since the majority of students participated in Bump Up Day during last school year.

Huddleston said there will be a sixth-grade orientation camp, however, on July 28 through July 31 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The camp is optional, she said, but those attending usually have an upper hand on what middle school is all about.

Lunch is provided during the camp, Huddleston said, and students will meet their teachers, play games and get their lockers and locks.

She said those who want to attend the camp can pre-register for it or sign up on the first day. Letters about the camp will be sent to parents this week.

Taylor County High School

Taylor County High School doesn't have a formal orientation night before school begins, according to newly hired TCHS Principal Laura Benningfield. Bump Up Day helps students learn their schedules, get supply lists and meet their teachers for next year before the school year ends.

"We feel like this takes away any uncertainty and apprehension from the students about the upcoming school year, so they can enjoy their summer knowing that they already know their teachers and where all their classes are."

For freshmen, however, TCHS hosts a Freshman Focus camp, which was last week. The camp is a key step in transitioning from middle to high school, Benningfield said.

During the spring semester, Benningfield said, eighth-graders have already been to the TCHS building several times to meet in groups and with counseling and other personnel.

"We want them to be comfortable and informed on their first day of school."

Students will take home some important paperwork on the first day of school, and it will also be posted on the District's website at www.taylor.kyschools.us.

Benningfield said school officials plan on meeting with parents during the third week in August.

"I would like to introduce myself to parents in my new position at TCHS and give them an opportunity to meet and greet with our teachers, counselors and support staff," she said.

Other meetings will be scheduled throughout the year to discuss college readiness, preparing for college and financial aid.

Kentucky Christian Academy

Kentucky Christian Academy will host an orientation on Thursday, July 31. Parents of those in Sonbeams through first grade will attend at 5:30 p.m. and parents of second- through fifth-graders will come to the school at 6:45 p.m.

KCA Administrator Lori Eubank said there will be an open house for Sonbeams through kindergarten students and their parents on Friday, Aug. 1, from 3 to 5 p.m. At the open house, she said, students can meet their teachers and see their classroom.

Attending the orientation and open house nights isn't mandatory, Eubank said, but highly recommended. She said important information will be given to parents.

Parents of students in first through sixth grade can bring their child's school supplies to the orientation night, Eubank said. Those in the younger grade levels can bring them at the open house.