Bell rings, are Dougherty Co. students in class? -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bell rings, are Dougherty Co. students in class?

Summer vacation is over for some 16,000 kids in Dougherty County, and it seems more of them showed up for the first day of school than usual.

In the past, as much as 25-percent of the student population trickled in, some as late as after Labor Day.

The superintendent enlisted the help of more than 200 churches to encourage parents to get their children to school on day one.

Sunday it was standing room only at Sherwood's open house and Monday students turned out in force. It may take a day or two to sort out the numbers and get everyone counted, but the classrooms here were full like never before.

It's only the first day, but what school officials saw today is adding up to the start of a good school year. At Sherwood Elementary, whether it was third grade or first the classrooms had more students at their desks than previous first days.

"We definitely have more students, we have more students in the school in general and yes we are certainly seeing more students on the first day," said Connie Gaskins, Sherwood Acres First Grade Teacher.

Teachers wasted little time getting into the material.

"They're so receptive to it, they're so excited about it, this is what they want to do," said Gaskins.

 Of course there were the regular hiccups, high school students who picked up their schedules over the last two weeks were ready to start today, but the schools still struggled with typical transient problems.

"The school I was in they were calling out names in groups of six to come to the office to pick up their schedule. These were people who let us know this morning, they showed up, they weren't in that zone last year and they're enrolling in that high school," said R.D. Harter, DCSS Public Information Director.

 Each principal was busy setting goals for the year, what they expect to achieve in the classroom. At Sherwood Acres, they're striving for 90/90/90.

"Our goal is to have 90 percent of the children pass the CRCT in Reading and Language, 90 percent pass in Science and Social Studies and 90 percent of the children pass in Math that is our school goal," said Eddie Johnson, Sherwood Acres Principal.

With expectations high, students seem prepared to rise to the challenge. Teachers say more students starting on the first day will mean less reviewing and an opportunity to cover more material.

R.D. Harter told us the Superintendent's focus this year will be the disparity for young male students success. He says it's an education emergency for those students and will be focused on closing the education gap for young boys.

Teachers and principals are stressing to students the importance of being in class everyday. Dr. Murfree encourages you to turn in students who should be in school but are not.

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