Traffic, technology and snacks on first day of school

Published 3:19 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Headed home: Clanton Elementary School students walk to the bus Tuesday at the end of the first day of school for the academic year.

Headed home: Clanton Elementary School students walk to the bus Tuesday at the end of the first day of school for the academic year.

The start of a new academic year Tuesday for local students brought much of the same–think traffic–and some new.

A mass of vehicles dropping off students turned the area around Clanton’s elementary, intermediate and middle schools into something resembling big-city rush hour.

Clanton Police Chief Keith Maddox was directing traffic at the intersection of Temple Road and Cloverleaf Drive, and said seven other CPD officers were doing the same at other locations.

Maddox said drivers were being patient and considerate, given the congestion.

“They’ve been helping each other, letting each other out,” Maddox said. “When there’s this many cars, there’s not much we can do other than let them work it out themselves.”

Clanton Police officers will be directing traffic at schools through Thursday, Maddox said.

Officials agreed that the traffic flow improves after the first week of school.

Isabella Brehm was among those who made it through the traffic for her first day of kindergarten at CES.

Brehm said she enjoyed coloring a picture of a bear, learning rules about manners, reading a book about a raccoon that didn’t want to go to school (he eventually did) and working on writing her name.

Recess and physical education class were also fun, said Brehm, who is in Ginger Ricks’ class.

“We stood on letters and numbers, and we jumped on the numbers and spun around,” Brehm said about markings on the gymnasium floor.

Then there was the food.

Brehm said she had cereal, fruit and yogurt for breakfast; and a chicken burger and fries for lunch. She also had Cool Ranch Doritos and grape juice for a snack.

“I ate somebody else’s snack because they ate mine and didn’t mean to,” she said.

Superintendent of Education Tommy Glasscock highlighted several changes for the academic year.

There are new administrators at Clanton Intermediate School (principal Mark Stephenson and assistant principal Roger Sheffield), Clanton Middle School (principal Kelvin Boulware and assistant principal Laura Ward), Jemison High School (half-day assistant principal Darrell Baker), Jemison Middle School (assistant principal Jackie DeJarnett), Verbena School (principal Carla White and assistant principal Bradley Mann) and the PASS Academy (administrator Dwight Swindle).

Administrators, teachers and students are getting used to a new schedule system, which all schools are using.

Also being implemented is Compass Learning, which is a 30-minute, web-based accelerated learning session during the day.

“It’s almost like having an additional teacher in the classroom,” Glasscock said.

Another technology initiative is the distribution of 60 Google Chromebooks to each school. Key personnel have Chromebooks, and others rotate among classrooms.

For those already worn out by the first two days of the school, the first break will be Labor Day, on Sept. 7.