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Jemison Middle School wing to open next school year

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

The new Jemison Middle School wing will be open for the 2017-2018 school year.

Seventh and eighth-grade classes will meet in the newly renovated wing of Jemison High School beginning this year. The students will have access to a new gymnasium as early as December, and a new cybercafé will host enriching activities.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Tommy Glasscock said the move has been planned for some time, but the vision is just now being realized.

The seventh grade has been in the intermediate school since its construction in 2008.

“It … has really just not been a good fit. If you look at the model at Clanton, we have [four schools] … the numbers are really close now on the north end of the county,” Glasscock said. “We’ve been missing that one link.”

The middle school lacked a full-sized gymnasium and easy access to a football field for sports teams because they were sharing facilities with the intermediate school.

In the newly renovated wing, JMS will have its own administration and “everything that a school has,” according to Glasscock.

“I think we’ve assembled a really good team. I think we’re going to be strong,” Glasscock said of the incoming administration.

Students will have new opportunities in the middle school due to initiatives designed to provide enriching experiences to prepare students for a college or career path.

“We’re very excited about what this could look like,” Glasscock said. “We’re going to give the kids, within reason, a little more freedom than they typically might have.”

Students will have the opportunity to visit a cybercafé to complete projects using computers in a “collegiate environment.” The room will also be used to host guest speakers, who can be resources for students to learn about possible career paths.

There is a one-to-one initiative for students to have access to Chromebooks, according to Glasscock. The school is also adopting Project Lead the Way in hopes of improving science and math scores.

The new locations for grade levels are as follows: Jemison Elementary School will house Pre-K through third grade, JIS will house fourth through sixth grade, JMS will house seventh and eighth grade and Jemison High School will house ninth through 12th grade.

The Chilton County Schools website (chilton.k12.al.us) and Facebook page will publish more details about registration in the coming weeks.