The 2009-2010 year is set to begin Aug. 19 at all Sharp County schools.
Custodians and workers were putting the final touches on the sparkly clean building Aug. 5. Johnny Kelly, a custodian with the elementary school was working to install sound resistant panels on one of the classroom's glass vents. Others were cleaning windows as teachers went back and forth to their vehicles struggling with heaps of supplies to personalize their classrooms for their brand new group of students.
As I walked down the halls, many fond memories came back from over 30 years ago, when I attended Cherokee Elementary.
Incidentally, Kelley still sweeps the floors with his big red dust mop that I always found so amazing as a child and Carolyn Bridges, one of my favorite teachers, still sits behind her very organized desk molding young third grade minds.
Bridges has taught at Cherokee Elementary School (CES) since 1971 as a third grade teacher. She said prior to coming to CES, she taught in Missouri.
While most of my teachers have retired, Bridges still remains and has a passion for her job and loves teaching. When asked why she still does it, she said, " I just like the job and the school system is great to work for." She has driven to CES from Black Rock, where she lives, for 37 years, and to see her again was amazing.
During her career, Bridges has seen a lot of changes in teaching techniques. As a third grader, I vividly recall my first day in her class.
After finally deciding which outfit would best suit me and a fashion parade of new school clothes for my parents and siblings, I was ready to meet my new teacher.
Like nearly all children, the first day of school jitters are common and after my parents took me to my class for the first day of school, Bridges completely eliminated any of my fears.
I remember telling my mother how big Miss Bridges' hair was and I just knew she had to be smart because her hair was so perfect every day. Throughout the year she taught us many things, but the main thing that stands out in my mind is something that to this day I get complemented on, my handwriting. She was a stickler for pretty handwriting and walked around the room watching usdo our assignments and encouraging each student to write their best, even if it meant re-writing assignments.
As my messy writing ninth grader scratches out his assignments, I can only wish he would have been fortunate enough to have had Miss Bridges mold his mind and hand to write where his teachers could read his assignments without a struggle.
Another former student of Bridges, Dana Collins, said that she remembered Bridges teaching her multiplication tables using paper dolls. She said she would hurry and learn one set so she could get new paper dolls.
During her career as a teacher, Bridges said she has seen a lot of changes, but mostly more testing and technology. She said that teaching aids such as smart boards are very helpful in the learning process, they also have their cons. She said some of the younger teachers ask her what to do in regard to teaching their classes when the equipment isn't functioning properly or the server is down. She said, "Just get a marker out and write on the board." She said the tried and true methods still seem to work when teaching young children and this includes repetition, coupled with teaching.
Another thing she said has changed over the years is the manner in which to discipline students. In the past, discipline was primarily handled in the classroom by each respective teacher unless it was a major incident. Today, discipline is handled through the principal. Bridges said another change is that many students are required to seek counseling due to various behavior or personal issues. She said it can be frustrating when students get called out of class for a counseling session at a vital point in a lesson.
When asked if she has plans to retire, Bridges said she just takes one year at a time and is looking forward to her new students.
Cherokee Elementary School will host open house Aug. 13 from 4-6 p.m.
All Sharp County schools will begin classes Aug. 19. Highland Schools have already held their registration but a spokesperson in the central administration office said any new students may register at the school office in which they plan to attend any time prior to Aug. 19.
Cave City High School will hold registration for freshman and sophomores Aug. 10 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and for juniors and seniors Aug. 11 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The high school will host open house Aug. 17 from 2-7 p.m.
Cave City Middle School will have registration for fifth and sixth graders Aug. 12 from 9 a.m.-2 p. m. and seventh and eight graders Aug. 13. Open house will be held Aug. 17 from 2-7 p.m. Cookies and punch will be served in the cafeteria by Cave City Middle School's food service staff.
Registration for Cave City Elementary School is ongoing and the office will be open during regular hours until school begins. Open house for the elementary school will also be held Aug. 17 from 2-7 p.m.
Twin Rivers Schools, Williford campus will hold registration for new students Aug. 10-14, including those entering kindergarten. Current students may meet with the counselor to fill out their schedules Aug. 10- 14. Seniors can make their schedules, Aug. 10, juniors Aug. 11, sophomores Aug. 12, freshman Aug. 13 and seventh and eighth grade Aug. 14.
Seventh grade orientation will be held Aug. 17 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the library. Open house will be held the same evening from 6-7:30 p.m. There will also be a meeting at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 17, in the cafeteria to discuss the departmentalization of 4th, 5th and 6th grades, All parents and students who will be entering those grades are encouraged to attend.