LAURINBURG — Despite several hiccups at the start of the school year, school officials think the first week went well.
Some of the hiccups included a longer than average rider time at Laurel Hill Elementary on the first day and a long line for the first use of the metal detectors at Scotland High School. According to Scotland High School Principal Brian Edkins, they learned a lot on Wednesday when the metal detectors were first used and did some adjusting on Friday when they were used a second time.
“We had a process in place that worked well, but it just took longer than expected,” Edkins said. “So, as a team, we reviewed the process and made adjustments. When we had students go through the metal detectors again today (Friday), the process was faster and worked better — however, they’ll still need to be some adjustments made to ensure that all students get through the security measure and in their classrooms at the beginning of the first period.”
Edkins said that the safety of the students is the top priority and the school will continue to make the necessary adjustments so that the students aren’t missing class time and appreciated the patience of the students.
“I’m so proud of our students and how they’ve come to school since day one and have hit the ground running,” Edkins added. “Our students truly embody our school motto ‘Success. Nothing Less’ each and every day.”
As for Laurel Hill, a number of factors went into the overly long lines to drop off and pick up students, including a new traffic pattern and the introduction of new students from North Laurinburg.
Superintendent Ron Hargrave said that everything had gone great despite and expected that lines would be long to drop students off for the first day.
“Like at all of our schools, but particularly at our elementary schools, you’ll have students that are car riders that the first day, but for the rest of the year they’ll be bus riders,” Hargrave said. “Often times, parents will want to park and walk their student in on that first day as well. Those factors, along with a new traffic pattern at Laurel Hill, caused some delays that first day, but since then, it’s not been an issue and things have worked smoothly.”
The students at Laurel Hill Elementary, however, had a smooth transition into their classes and new school according to Scotland County Schools Public Information Officer Meredith Bounds.
“It was a seamless transition,” Bounds said. “That’s because of all the work the staff put in to make it that way. Students were able to have days where they could come over and sit in the classrooms, have fun days getting to know new friends. The staff would come over and work at the school and they were getting together socially outside of the classroom having events.”
Because of the consolidation to make the students feel more welcome about coming from North Laurinburg Elementary, Laurel Hill changed its mascot. Originally the Superstars with the help of parents and students they became the Leopards. Bounds said this was so it wasn’t asking those from North Laurinburg to go from being Polar Bears to Superstars but rather everyone becoming something new.
This was also done with Sycamore Lane Elementary and Covington Street Elementary last year for the planned consolidation this year, but construction on Sycamore Lane was not completed in time so the move has been rescheduled for next year. Bounds says that they will continue the days and activities to help students get prepared for the consolidation to make it as seamless as Laurel Hill and North Laurinburg.
For Hargrave, the beginning of the school year is the start of watching the students grown and learn during their time at the schools, which is his favorite part of the school year.
“The knowledge that they gain this school year adds to the foundation for a successful school year next year,” Hargrave said. “It’s important that we continue to help our children grow academically, socially, and emotionally each and every year.”
Though particularly he’s looking forward to the “1: World Technology Plan” to be fully implemented which had third- through 12th-grade students having their own Chromebooks. Younger students have iPads in the classrooms but the older students are able to take theirs home and continue their school work.
The final stages of the rollout will end next week with every student having their own Chromebook. But besides that Hargrave is thankful to the community for their continued support of the students.
“Thank you to our staff, parents, and community for continuing to support our students,” Hargrave said. “Working together, we can make this the best school year yet.”
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]