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First-graders kick-off new school year

By Staff
FIRST DAY – West Lauderdale first-grade teacher Cathy Poole shows her class how to draw a straight line in their notebooks to divide the paper for different activities. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
Aug. 12, 2003
First-grader Katelyn Robinson said going outside to play was the best part of her first day of school on Monday.
Robinson and 14 other students began the new school year in Cathy Poole's first-grade class at West Lauderdale Elementary School. Betty Phillips, Poole's teacher assistant, said she is excited about the class.
West Lauderdale and other Lauderdale County public schools officially started the new school year Monday the first day of class for everyone from kindergartners to 12th-graders.
Also on Monday, students in Meridian public schools began their first full week of class. Students there have been back at school since their first full day on Thursday.
Successful program
At West Lauderdale Elementary School, Phillips said the number of students in classrooms has decreased and their productivity has increased since the Success For All program was implemented.
Success For All is a program designed to ensure that all students are reading at their own grade level by the third grade. The program also is designed for classrooms with no more than 18 students.
Poole, who is beginning her 30th and final year as a teacher at West Lauderdale, said she is looking forward to taking more field trips with her students this year.
Besides starting a new school year, David Little, the county's school superintendent, said parents also will see how well schools are performing when scores from standardized tests are released Friday.
The scores will include results from the Mississippi Curriculum Test, given to students in the second through eight grade. The test measures student achievement in reading, language and math.
Effective teachers
Little said teachers spent the summer making a "curriculum map." He said the maps will let teachers know exactly what students learned the year before and what will be expected of them next year.
Sylvia Autry, Meridian schools interim superintendent, said the first full week of school is off to a good start.
Autry said she also is excited to release standardized test scores for city schools. She said she believes school performance levels, or accreditation levels, will improve this year for most city schools.
Accreditation levels will be released Sept. 13.
Poole said she believes that students and schools succeed when parents and the community are involved.

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