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School holds info sessions

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Parents have a chance this week to get more information about Newton County's parent-involvement theme school.

Fairview Theme School and the Newton County School System will hold two parent information meetings this week in order for current and prospective families to learn more about the program and upcoming changes and have a chance to ask administrators questions.

The meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today at Fairview Theme School, which is located at 3325 Fairview Road in Covington, and 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Newton County Board of Education building, which is located at 2109 Newton Drive N.E., in Covington.

The Newton County Board of Education recently approved a revised set of plans for the theme school that change a few things for next school year, including giving it a new name and allowing the theme school to expand by offering a sixth-grade class next year.

The school also will be moved from its current location, at Fairview Elementary School on Fairview Road, to the current Ficquett Elementary School building on Newton Drive in Covington. As a result, Fairview will be reverted into a traditional elementary school next school year, and most of Ficquett's current population is expected to transfer to the new elementary school on Airport Road in north Newton County when it opens in August.

Therefore, the theme school will be named the Newton County Theme School at Ficquett.

At the new location, officials expect the school to serve up to 835 students next school year -- 100 students each in kindergarten and first grades, 150 in second grade, 125 in third grade and 120 each in fourth through sixth grades.

Currently, about 600 students are enrolled in the theme school in kindergarten through fifth grades -- 87 in kindergarten, 136 in first grade, 103 in second grade, 95 in third grade, 90 in fourth grade and 54 in fifth grade.

There is no cap on the number of students from each elementary school in the county, and there will be a lottery for each grade level that might go over capped enrollment numbers at the theme school, officials have said.

Theme school parents agree to volunteer or participate at a minimum of 20 hours per year and provide transportation for students by bringing them to the school or to one of four drop-off points in the county.

Existing theme school students will have the first choice of enrollment for next school year as long as they have met qualifications. Siblings of enrolled students will be given first choice for kindergarten classes.

To remain at the school, students in grades one through six must meet standards by earning a 2 or 3, an 80 or an S or P in all areas. Additionally, students must not have poor discipline or attendance records.

Students also must not earn more than 3 Ns on the conduct portion of the report card to remain at the school, which is another new requirement for the 2011-12 school year.

New students also must meet the same requirements at their current schools. They also must have passed the reading, English language arts and math portions of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

New student registration is scheduled from Feb. 1 through 28. Applications, which are available at www.newtoncountyschools.org and at the school, must include a proof of Newton County residence and students' report cards and CRCT scores.

Parents of current theme school students must sign continuation agreements and return them to teachers by Feb. 28.

Notifications of acceptance or rejection will be mailed to families by March 18. A lottery will be held if needed.

More information is available by calling the school at 770-784-2959 or visiting its Web site, www.newtoncountyschools.org/schools/fairview-theme.asp.