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Freshening up: Schools get ready for students

Although most people think school employees get a three-month summer vacation, nothing could be farther from the truth. Much time is spent in preparation for the upcoming school year. McDuffie County's teachers, administrators, secretaries and school custodians are no exception.

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George Williams of Heritage Painting scrapes the facade of Thomson Middle School.

Currently, buildings are being cleaned, painted and repaired; floors are being waxed; materials are being distributed; handbooks are being prepared, and rooms are being organized. All of McDuffie County's schools are hotbeds of preparation.

"The kids generally, based upon research, learn better when the schools are painted and cleaned and organized and presentable to them," said Jim Franklin, assistant superintendent for administrative services. "It creates an environment where it is much easier and much more motivating for them to learn."

One common practice in schools during late summer is the distribution of materials for the coming year. Books, paper and other supplies arrive in boxes and have to be separated, sorted and sent to each classroom prior to the return of the teachers.

During this time of the year, Dearing Elementary Principal Linda Grisham refers to the office as both a "jungle," and a "maze."

"We have to go through every box and check off everything," she said. "Those are beginning to come in."

Also, teachers who are changing grades or classrooms have all of their materials moved. During the summer, all of the equipment is placed in the hall; the classroom is cleaned, and the new occupant's equipment is moved in.

Occasionally, teachers will visit during summer vacation to make sure their classrooms will be on the right track for their first day, a week prior to the return of the students.

A big change at several schools this year will be the replacing of carpet with tile in classrooms. That work is currently underway. According to Dr. Franklin, tile floors will keep students and staff healthier by not holding germs and allergens.

"We've decided to go with tile because we've had a lot of respiratory problems that we think can be traced to the carpet," Dr. Grisham said about Dearing Elementary. "And it's not only affected our children, but it's affecting our staff. ...We'll probably eventually go to all tile because it's healthier."

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Leon Flouonoy of Heritage Painting puts a coat on the Thomson Middle columns.

Also in the works during the next few weeks in preparation for the upcoming school year is a fence at Thomson Elementary, repainting at TES, NES, Thomson Middle and Maxwell Elementary. Also much repair work is being done at Crossroads Learning Center.

"Our custodial staff has worked feverishly waxing floors and preparing classrooms so that the facilities are up to par when our students arrive," said Norris Elementary Principal Steve Rhodes. "Our entire staff will be in ... to work on school improvement initiatives."



Web posted on Thursday, July 29, 2004


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