Newton schools to start Friday

COVINGTON — Around 19,000 students are expected to enter the Newton County School System this week.

After about a two-month long summer break, teachers already have returned to their classrooms to prepare for students’ return on Friday.

The new school year brings with it several changes, mostly on the administrative level.

The school system now is under the supervision of the new superintendent, Samantha Fuhrey, who started at the beginning of July. She plans to hold meetings with the community throughout the school year.

Two new system administrators also began this month — Dr. Craig Lockhart, former principal of Newton High School, is now the deputy superintendent of Schools, and Shannon Buff, former assistant principal at NHS, is now the director of Secondary Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development at NCSS.

Two new school administrators also have been hired for the new school year — Eclan David was recently approved to start at the new principal for NHS, and Dr. Sandra Owens, former assistant principal at NHS, began this month as the next principal of Alcovy High School.

Dr. Allison Jordan, former assistant principal at Clements Middle School, also is the system’s newest director of Testing, Research & Evaluation.

The changing administration team at NHS isn’t the only big change for the school — nearly 2,000 students also will move into a new building at 1 Ram Way, off Jack Neely and Crowell roads, this week.

The site, which broke ground in August 2011, is located on nearly 118 acres of land. The project was budgeted to cost more than $50 million.

The new school’s campus is made up of a 395,125-square-foot, two-story building with an auditorium, media center, gymnasium and commons area; a bus parking lot; two parking lots on either side of the building; athletic and practice fields and a sports complex. It also could hold a future stadium or some other feature.

The school system also is made up of 13 elementary schools, five middle schools and two other high schools, as well as a parent-involvement theme school that houses elementary and middle school students, Ombudsman alternative school that houses middle and high school students and the Newton College & Career Academy that houses high school students. NCCA is starting up a STEM Academy this school year for ninth-grade students to study science, technology, engineering and math.

Challenge Charter Academy, which housed about 100 middle and high school students last school year, closed down at the end of last school year.

The first break for Newton County students and staff will be Sept. 2 for Labor Day, followed by a fall break from Oct. 7 through 11.

They also will get breaks for Thanksgiving from Nov. 25 through 29 and winter holidays from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.

After the new year, students and staff will get another break on Jan. 20 for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. A winter break is scheduled from Feb. 19 through 21, and a spring break is scheduled from April 7 through 11.

A few early release days and teacher work days also are scattered throughout the school year.

The last day of school for the 2013-14 school year for students is Friday, May 23.