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What to expect as area students head back to class

Subheadline: 
Start of school year around the corner

  • New HRMS Principal Seneca Baines

It’s almost time once again for buses to roll and bells to ring, signaling the start of another school year in Jasper County.

As students enjoyed their summer break, principals and administrators were busy preparing for new initiatives within their schools.

The various schools within the county are listed as well as some of the new initiatives that can be expected within them.

Jasper County School District

The first day for schools in the district is Thursday, Aug. 17.

An open house for all schools is Tuesday, Aug. 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. New administrators this year include John Tutterton, who will serve as Chief Human Resources Officer; Seneca Baines, principal of Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School; Marlyn Westbrook, assistant principal of Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School; and Travis Griffin, assistant principal at Ridgeland Elementary School.

Ridgeland Elementary School

Ridgeland Elementary School’s new assistant principal is Griffin. There will also be a new grading scale for students in grades 3-8 as the board recently approved the change. The grades will use a 10-point grading scale.

Uniforms are also required for each school and the following is important information about the policy:

Girls Top: White or any shade of blue polo or collared shirt.

Bottom: Khaki (tan) or dark blue shorts, skorts, skirts, pants, or dresses. All shorts, skorts, and dresses must be the appropriate length.

Boys Top: White or any shade of blue polo or collared shirt.

Bottom: Khaki (tan) or dark blue pants or shorts.

Hardeeville Elementary School

Students in grades 3-8, including Hardeeville Elementary, will see the new 10-point grading scale. Uniform information for Hardeeville Elementary School is:

Girls Top: Pre-K through 5th grades must wear a white or any shade of blue, polo or collared.

Bottom: Pants, shorts, skirts, and skorts may be Khaki or Dark Blue. No cargo pants or shorts. All shorts, skorts, and dresses must be the appropriate length.

Boys Top: Pre-K through 5th grades must wear a white or any shade of blue, polo or collared.

Bottom: Pants and shorts may be Khaki or Dark Blue. No cargo pants or shorts.

Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School

There will be a new leader at Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School this school year as Baines takes over the helm. The students at Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School will also see the new 10-point grading scale.

The school’s uniform policy is: 6th Grade - tops: Gold only

7th Grade - tops: Burgundy only

8th Grade - tops: Black only

Students will only be allowed to wear khaki and black pants.

No jeans, no cargo pants, no hoodies.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School

Westbrook is the new assistant principal at Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School. Uniforms were approved to be worn throughout the district a few years ago and the following information will provide what will be needed for the upcoming school year.

Girls Top: red, gray or orange tops with a collar and sleeves.

Bottom: khaki or black pants, skirts, shorts or jumpers.

Skirts, jumpers, and shorts must be no higher than 2½ inches above the knee joint in the back.

Boys Top: red, gray or orange tops with a collar and sleeves. Shirts must be tucked in.

Bottom: khaki or black pants or shorts.

No jeans or cargo pants allowed. Pants must be worn at the waist.

Thomas Heyward Academy

The first half day of school is Friday, Aug. 11, with dismissal at 11:30 a.m. The first full day of school is Monday, Aug. 14. A Back-to-School Bash is Thursday, Aug. 10.

New families will meet at 5:30 p.m. in Room A9. Students and parents will visit the classrooms and meet the teachers from 6 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. There will be an assembly in the gym at 6:30 p.m. followed by a THA Family Spaghetti Dinner in the Cafeteria.

“You can expect to see a strong emphasis on THA’s Character Traits as well as focus on environmental education,” Head of School Marilyn Davis said. “More clubs are being added and all upper school students will be expected to participate in community service projects. In the classroom, on the field or court, and in the community, our students exhibit a spirit of teamwork, leadership, and strong character. We are looking forward to an exciting new school year.”

There are three new additions to the THA faculty. Roy Pryor is the Director of Marketing and Development. Al Boni will be teaching upper school science classes and Molly Binder is joining the middle school team and will teach English.

The school has added a graphic design class, a life skills class, and a speed and strength class to the upper school schedule.

A seventh period has been added to the upper school schedule in place of second break. This period will be used for advisory sessions, club meetings, assemblies, tutoring sessions, student collaboration, etc.

The school is also adding a new intramural sports league for grades 2-5. It will begin with kickball and follow with other sports such as basketball, flag football, volleyball, and softball.

Royal Live Oaks Academy

The first day of school for Royal Live Oaks Academy Charter School in Hardeeville is Monday, Aug. 14. The school will host a Back-to-School Carnival/Open House on Thursday, Aug. 10 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Registration is underway, however, slots can still be reserved by calling 843-784-2630.

A $15 registration fee is charged for each child.

“We are excited about the direction the school is moving in and we are on a mission to help children succeed,” Royal Live Oaks Chief of Academics Brian Morse said. “In addition to our current AP courses, we are adding AP English and further developing our engineering programs.”

Morse said the educational program at RLOA is designed to address the individual needs of every student and serve children’s diverse learning styles within a small school environment of shared core values.

Step of Faith Christian Academy

The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 14. A parent orientation is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 10 with K3-6th grades meeting at 6 p.m. followed by 7th-12th grades meeting at 7 p.m.

“I am eager to begin my 11th year leading Step of Faith and it is exciting to be a part of what the Lord is doing in Jasper County,” School Administrator Donna Carter said. “We have added an after-school care program to meet the needs of our families with young children. The students will have art, music, cooking, computer and sports enrichment classes in addition to homework time. I am also excited to have the opportunity to offer theater to our students, and to our community.”

Step of Faith will continue to partner with the Jasper County Trust Coalition to implement strategies to educate our students about the dangers of distracted driving and underage drinking. This partnership involves student experiences, such as a student led after school club, guest speakers, a crash reenactment and a mock trial.

Step of Faith has four new faculty members. Rhonda Stones will teach high school English and direct a new drama program. Stone has directed musicals and plays for over 25 years. The school’s first production, Krazy Kamp, will be Nov. 10.

Denis Juarez will teach high school Spanish I, II, and III classes, and will teach introductory Spanish to students in grades 1-6. She will also facilitate the school’s computer lab. Neighley Simmons will teach K3 class in the school’s preschool department and Ron Jones will serve as the school’s fourth grade teacher.

Reggie Huskey is the new athletic director.

“I am looking forward to finally having a home-court advantage in every sense of the word. We also plan to have a “ ‘B’ ” team sports program in addition to junior varsity and varsity sports,” Carter said.

The school’s first home volleyball game in its new gym is Aug. 18 against Victory Christian School, with the junior varsity playing at 4 p.m. followed by the varsity match.

In the spring, the school will field its inaugural softball team.

Legacy Christian Academy

The first day of school for Legacy Christian Academy is Aug. 14. An open house is scheduled for Aug. 10.

A Back-to-School Party will be held Aug. 12 from noon until 4 p.m. at the school campus to benefit the LCA Sports Program. The public is invited to attend.

Administrator Wendy DuBose said students can expect to see several new changes in the academics, the arts, and athletics this year. The academy has a complete, full-day K3–12th program. More classrooms have been added to accommodate the additional students.

“We have enhanced our security at the academy to help parents and students feel safe,” DuBose said. “We are also implementing an enhanced English curriculum and a driver’s safety course for young drivers while expanding our Bible program to include Apologetics, True Worship, and the Life of Christ as we feel that students need to be prepared in the foundations of why they believe what they believe and how knowing and experiencing Christ can be life-changing.”

The sports program has expanded its extracurricular options with the addition of cheerleading. The school currently offers archery, volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball.

There are new additions to staff and to the LCA Board of Directors. Sharon Emmanuel, Rev. Allen Perry, and Donna Rowell will serve as board members for the academy. Rowell will also serve as the new 7th-12th grade music teacher.

“Donna’s extensive training in music and God-given talents will offer students an opportunity to learn, serve, and worship our Lord in vocals and instruments on a level often overlooked by traditional music theory,” Dubose said.

Jennifer Collins will serve as the new third grade teacher. Calvin Smith is the new high school Bible and History teacher. Valerie Mingledorff is the new high school English teacher.

John Paul II

The first day of school for middle school students, that will be an orientation, is Monday, Aug. 21, from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will also be a cookout and solar eclipse activities from 1:45 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. on the same day. The first day for high school students is 8:15 a.m., Aug. 22.

John Paul II Director of Communications Mary Beth Dever said the school will welcome over 50 new students and six new faculty member.

“We are beginning a new robotics program and are especially excited to be expanding courses in our music and drama programs,” Dever said. “the six new faculty members will fill positions in science, PE, English, math, theology and music.”

It is expanding its AP curriculum.

John Paul II will offer 12 AP courses, including AP Environmental, AP Human Geography, AP Psychology, AP Language and Composition, AP statistics, AP Calculus, AP Biology, AP United States History, AP United States Government and Politics, AP European History, AP Art History and AP Studio Art. The school has a dedicated AP Coordinator on staff to manage and assist students and parents.

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