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Newton theme School to hold info session, soon to be accepting applications

COVINGTON -- Newton County parents interested in learning more about the parent involvement theme school can attend a special meeting next week.

The Newton County Theme School at Ficquett will hold an information session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the school's cafeteria.

There, parents of prospective students can learn more about the school, which is located at 2207 Williams St. off Newton Drive, and its registration process for next school year.

"It's a great opportunity for people to come listen and ask questions," said Baxter Bouchillon, president of the school's PTO.

He said guests will get to see a video about parent involvement, hear a presentation and learn more about the school, its history and future plans. Teachers and current theme school parents also will be on a panel for a question and answer session.

Principal Ruth Anne Smith, other administrators and officials from the Newton County School System also are expected to be in attendance, and applications will be available.

Applications are accepted at the school from Feb. 1 through 29. They are available at the school or for download at the NCSS website, www.newtoncountyschools.org.

The school first opened in 2009 at the Fairview Elementary School site. This school year, it was moved to the Ficquett Elementary School site.

Sixth grade was added this school year, and seventh grade will be added next school year. Eighth grade is expected to be added the following year.

Eventually, the school is expected to move into the current Eastside High School facility, when a replacement high school is built, according to the school system's facility plan.

The theme school follows the NCSS curriculum, and students also follow a dress code and certain behavioral expectations. Parents must volunteer for at least 20 hours each school year.

The school also has a special emphasis on reading -- students must read every day throughout the entire year, including the summer.

Also next year, the school plans to offer intramural sports for students; students also will be allowed to participate in sports program at their zoned home schools if they wish.

Special programs like Spanish and band also are expected to be added next year, and yearbook and fitness club already are offered.

More than 750 students currently are enrolled in the school, and more than 900 are expected to be allowed next school year, including 105 in kindergarten, 110 each in first and second grades, 145 in third grade, 120 each in fourth and fifth grades, 110 in sixth grade and 90 in seventh grade.

A lottery will be held March 9 if more students apply than can be accommodated. Acceptance letters will be mailed March 16.

A waiting list will be made in the order the names were drawn in the lottery to fill any seats that become available between March 16 and the beginning of next school year, according to the NCTS PTO website.

Staff coorispondent Aimee Jones contributed to this article.