Theme schools: Deadline for enrollment is extended

COVINGTON - For the second time, the Newton County School System has extended the deadline to apply to its new elementary and middle parent-involvement theme schools.

School system officials announced Saturday that more theme school informational meetings are scheduled for this week and that the new deadline is now March 13.

Originally, parents had until Feb. 6 to apply for their students to attend the schools, but since then NCSS has extended that deadline twice after not meeting its enrollment goals.

In December, NCSS officials said they need a minimum of 450 students at the elementary theme school and 624 at the middle theme school to receive full state funding for the schools.

As of Feb. 23 enrollment reports provided by NCSS, 537 students have applied to the elementary theme school and 208 students have applied to the middle theme school.

This year, enrollment at each of the 13 public elementary schools in Newton County ranged from 450 to 930, and enrollment at each of the four county middle schools ranged from 715 to 1,415, according to an NCSS enrollment report from Feb. 5.

After holding a series of informational meetings in January and February, school system officials plan to hold more this week.

Parents and guardians are invited to meetings at 6:30 p.m. today at Indian Creek Middle School and 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Clements Middle School. A meeting was scheduled for Monday, but the inclement weather and school closings canceled it; Sherri Viniard, director of public relations at NCSS, said the meeting may be rescheduled but did not provide a time and date as of press time Monday.

At these meetings, school officials will provide more information about the theme schools, including transportation, which was previously limited to those inside of the school zone.

Now, "limited transportation will be provided on a limited basis to and from designated stops for the elementary and middle school theme schools," said Dr. Ken Proctor, director of the elementary curriculum at NCSS, in a press release.

Officials also are adding that the middle theme school will focus on student leadership, in addition to parent involvement. Both schools also require parents to participate in a certain number of activities and require students meet a certain set of standards.

At the meetings, school administrators also will meet with parents and students and answer any questions.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.