‘A good beginning’

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 8/16/17

Schools leaders across the Jasper City Schools district say the first day back to school for students was a success.

Leading up to the start of the 2017-18 school year, school officials were concerned about traffic volume on Viking Drive at T.R. Simmons School and Jasper High School. Construction has continued over the summer on Viking Drive, and an access road has been created behind Jasper High School to help alleviate congestion; however, neither project was finished at the start of school Tuesday morning.

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‘A good beginning’

Posted

Schools leaders across the Jasper City Schools district say the first day back to school for students was a success.

Leading up to the start of the 2017-18 school year, school officials were concerned about traffic volume on Viking Drive at T.R. Simmons School and Jasper High School. Construction has continued over the summer on Viking Drive, and an access road has been created behind Jasper High School to help alleviate congestion; however, neither project was finished at the start of school Tuesday morning.

Despite road construction, Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson said traffic wasn’t significantly delayed.

“Our morning traffic went better than we anticipated, although we know there was congestion. We opened our doors an hour earlier to let people utilize that extra time,” Jackson said. “The people that took advantage of coming early certainly benefited. ... We were getting 800 students in, now we’re getting 1,200 students, and we can’t do that in 30 minutes.”

Jasper High School Principal Bart Reeves said traffic on campus continued to flow, but delays on Viking Drive continued, as expected, due to road construction.

“We got off to a smooth start. We’re very thankful for that,” Reeves said.

The access road near the Daily Mountain Eagle will now be open as an entrance only zone to Jasper High School for student drop-off and pick up. School officials are asking for everyone coming from downtown Jasper to use the new access road, and everyone coming from the other direction on Viking Drive to use the main entrance to campus.

Construction of the road behind the school that will eventually connect to Indiana Avenue may be completed as early as Sept. 1, according to Reeves.

T.R. Simmons Principal Jonathan Allen said traffic continued to flow on their campus, and that having kindergartners only attend school for half a day helped lessen the number of vehicles on campus.

Allen said teachers and students are adjusting well in regards to the district’s realignment.

“They’ve made it their home,” he said.

“I think everybody has had a lot of anxiety leading up to it, because it is new and it is different,” Jackson said of the realignment. “Once kids enter a school, then it’s a game changer. Then teaching and learning starts happening, and a lot of the worries outside of that go to the wayside.”

Memorial Park Principal Eric Rigsby said they had a positive first day of school.

“It has been a great day. It was a little busy in the office this morning,” Rigsby said, adding that traffic flowed smoothly at the school.

Jasper Jr. High Principal Lutis Moore said seventh and eighth graders are adjusting well to their new learning environment.

“It’s been a really good first day,” Moore said. “We’re in a good place, and they’ve adjusted really well.”

Maddox Intermediate Principal Marc Sargent could not be reached for comment on the first day of school for Maddox students.

Jackson said this year’s focus will continue to be on enhancing academic retention.

“We are constantly working on academic student achievement, and we’re going to continue to focus on strategic teaching and implementing more of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) projects and programs,” she said. “We’re expecting a good year — growing pains — but a good year.”