Gary hopes for strong start to school year
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/302-0949 August 18, 2013 11:04PM
Jordan Montgomery, 5, and mom, Veronica Holmes, look over the free books offered at Friday's "Meet and Greet" at Williams Elementary. Jordan will be in kindergarten when school starts Wednesday. | Post-Tribune photo
Updated: September 20, 2013 6:13AM
GARY — Following a shaky start last year, there’s a new sense of organization in the Gary Community School Corp.
The district is trying to head off issues, like last year’s bus fiasco, before problems develop.
“Dr. (Cheryl) Pruitt wants to make sure we are all working together for education in the name of our children,” said school spokeswoman Charmella Greer. “She did not want a repeat of last year.”
School starts Wednesday at all of Gary’s schools. A teacher convocation is at 8 a.m. Monday at the West Side Leadership Academy.
Earlier in August, the district held three forums for parents to explain the bus route system and announce bell times. “We wanted parents to feel comfortable before school started,” said Greer.
All schools held “Meet and Greets” where parents could meet principals and teachers along with their children.
“It’s more festive and inviting this year,” said Maria Gilles, a first-grade teacher at Williams Elementary. “Our parent liaison is wonderful. They all worked really hard.”
The school offered free books, lunch, raffles, and children received free backpacks while Kracker Jack the clown made balloon animals.
Gilles said the event is a good way to start the year.
“It’s helpful to have a conversation with parents in not such a formal setting,” she said.
Parent Angela Paschel brought her daughter, Jessica Banks, 9, to meet her teacher for the first time.
“I think it seems more organized, since we were able to come and meet the staff and everything,” said Paschel who said she learned about the district’s new reading standard.
In addition, the district held an administrative retreat for the first time on Aug. 14 at the Aquatorium on Lake Michigan in Miller. It was held in conjunction with a NAACP recruitment drive to strengthen the partnership between the organization and the schools, Greer said.
Administrators learned of the district’s new technology program that will bring 4,000 new computers to classrooms this year. The plan also includes new software.