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Lonoke students back to school Monday

Lonoke Primary School secretary Deanie Sherrell, principal Rebecca Reed and counselor Judy Bourne greet students Monday prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)Buy Photo
Lonoke Primary School secretary Deanie Sherrell, principal Rebecca Reed and counselor Judy Bourne greet students Monday prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)
Michael and Karen Minnie walk their son Owen to the primary school Monday morning. Owen is in kindergarten this year at Lonoke. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)Buy Photo
Michael and Karen Minnie walk their son Owen to the primary school Monday morning. Owen is in kindergarten this year at Lonoke. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

Student of the Lonoke School District hit the halls Monday for the 2013-14 school year.

Despite the excitement of summer, teacher and students eagerly flooding the campuses, ready for their first day.

New primary school principal Rebecca Reed said, minus a few car line issues, the day went well, overall.

“It went pretty smooth,” Reed said.

According to Reed, the primary school enrollment is up. She said there were 464 students enrolled on Monday, compared to last year’s 433 students.

Along with Reed at the primary school, the first day also brought a few faces to the staff. In the pre-kindergarten classrooms, new teachers are April Cox-Davidson and Amber Starks. Krystal McCoy is the new Enrichment/Interventionist and Carrie Mitchell is a new kindergarten teacher at the primary school. Rhina Odom is a new first grade teacher

Jennifer Barbaree, the new elementary principal said she was overwhelmed by the first day of school because it went so well.

“This was the best first day in three years,” Barbaree said. “Everything went well. It was a great day.”

Barabaree said the elementary school currently has 422 students enrolled and 412 of those students were in attendance on Monday.

There were also a few new staff members are the elementary school. Those teachers include Mallory Jackson, physical education, assistant volleyball and girls junior track coach; Lauren Landers, fourth grade literacy teacher; Belinda Lawrence, special education teacher; and Stephanie Price, media specialist/librarian .

Middle school principal Jennie Holt was also please by the outcome of the first day of school.

“It was a really smooth day,” Holt said.

Holt said she had 390 students on Monday with 411 enrolled. According to Holt, four of the absent student were accounted for leaving her with 17 “no shows.”

New teachers this year at the middle school include: Elizabeth Doyle, EAST Facilitator; Kristen Farmin, art teacher; Valerie Hooten, keyboarding and career orientation teacher; Tana Miller, family consumer science teacher; Courtney Swiney, counselor; Bret Watson, physical education and health teacher.

New High School Principal Marc Sherrell said he was please overall with the first day of school.

“It went pretty good,” Sherrell said. “No disciplinary issues. Overall it was a pretty good day.”

Sherrell said there were 614 students enrolled for the first day and 609 in attendance.

In addition to Sherrell, new staff members include: Lt. Col. Paul Brown ,JROTC Sr. Instructor; Natalie Flemming, English , Jennifer Holland, math and CORE teacher; Erica Jewell, counselor; Phillip King, science teacher, coach and CORE teacher; Nancy Lively, CORE teacher; Bridget Mills, geometry teacher; Taggart Moore, social studies teacher and coach; and Jena Reitz, math teacher.

Superintendent Suzanne Bailey said Wednesday that she was as pleased with the first day, as the building principals. She said there will be improvements throughout the year to help better serve the needs of students in the Lonoke School District.

“We are looking forward to a wonderful school year that has already had a super beginning,” Bailey said. “We will be working hard to make the necessary improvements at each grade level and in each department so that our students can achieve maximum success. We will also be working hard to continue the successes we have achieved at Lonoke Schools with the goals that have been set in place.”

As of Wednesday, Bailey said a preliminary head shows a student count of 1,793 students for grades kindergarten through 12. She said the administration is currently working to collect data on reasoning behind the decrease in student numbers. More definite student numbers will appear most likely after Labor Day holiday.

“Last year, school year 2012-13, our student year end count was 1,815, which was up from the previous year,” Bailey said. ”We also have 53 students enrolled in our Pre-K program at the present date. Our new C.O.R.E. program, in which we have a partnership with Carlisle and Hazen, has begun with approximately seven students attending thus far that have met the requirements to attend this learning environment.

Bailey said the district’s hope is for a successful school year for the Committed to Other Routes of Education (C.O.R.E.) program and most importantly that the students learn the needed academic skills, as well as improve upon other needed skills.

The district’s homework hotline tutoring program will begin Sept.3, at the Carver Campus. It will be open three days a week: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, from after school until 5:30 p.m. Students may ride the school bus to the Carver Campus, and parents must pick them up by 5:30 p.m. at this location. This is a free program for our students.

“Please watch for updates to our school district’s website as we are making improvements to that each day,” Bailey said. “Our school committees are being set, and we plan to continue the work we began last year with our Task Force Team as well as our Parent Advisory Team and other teams to help us be the best we can be for our students and our community of Lonoke.”

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