As the Dougherty County School System moves closer to the opening of school on Monday, Superintendent Butch Mosely said getting a good start for the new school year means attending open house, which will be held Thursday afternoon and evening. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — As the Dougherty County School System gears up for opening day of the new school year on Monday, DCSS Superintendent Butch Mosely is aiming to keep the momentum going from last year and is urging parents to help get things started right by attending school open houses on Thursday.
“Faculty and school leaders are excited about the progress being made throughout our system and we are all ready to build on recent successes in the coming school year,” Mosely said. “From a parents’ and students’ perspective, getting a good start for a new school year means attending open house, which will be held the afternoon and evening of Thursday. The first day of class, we will welcome more than 15,000 young people next Monday.”
The schedule for open house in all Dougherty County Schools is on a sliding time schedule so parents with more than one child in the system can attend the activities at all levels. Elementary open house will be 4 p.m.-6 p.m., with middle schools 5 p.m.-7 p.m and high schools 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
New at the high school event this year will be the distribution of student class schedules. In the past, only freshmen and students new to a high school participated in this event. This year, officials say, it is important for all students to attend to learn about class schedules for the first semester.
Registration for all schools for students whose families have moved to a new school zone and for students new to the system is being held through Thursday. There are some new requirements involved in the registration process.
To register to attend school in the Dougherty County School System, parents will need an official birth certificate and Social Security card (or waiver) for the registering child. Parents must also present verification of address through acceptable proof of residency documentation. The list of acceptable forms is available from the system website at www.docoschools.org A copy of the legal parent’s state photo ID card also is required, along with proof of custody/guardianship if an adult other than a natural parent is registering the child.
If applicable or new to the system, a registering parent must provide withdrawal form, discipline report, transcript or final report card from the previous year. In order to attend a Georgia school, students in grades K-6 must have proof of immunization against hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, and chicken pox. Georgia law also requires students to have eye, ear, dental and nutrition examinations.
Certificates for immunizations and hearing/dental/vision/nutrition exams are available from physicians or from the Dougherty County Health Department at 1710 S. Slappey Blvd. Monday-Friday during regular business hours.
The Health Department fee for an eye, ear, dental and nutrition screening is $42. Immunizations are offered for little to no fee, depending on eligibility and insurance status. Students entering seventh grade and children who are new entrants into a Georgia school in grades 8-12, must receive one dose of Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough) vaccine and one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine. To make appointments for screenings or immunizations at the Dougherty County Health Department, contact (229) 430-6300.
DAY BELL SCHEDULES
The class day bell schedule for the 2014-15 year has not changed, although three high schools will have adjusted bell schedules based on their school improvement plans. These schedules will be available at each high school’s open house event. For the rest of the system:
— Elementary schools will begin classes at 8 a.m. and the last class will be completed at 2:30 p.m.
— Middle schools start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m.;
— Westover Comprehensive High School begins at 8:45 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m.
Parents/guardians must request transportation for their child or children annually at school registration. Requests for bus transportation will be honored for students eligible for transportation, as determined by criteria established by the Georgia Department of Education and the school system.
Students are assigned to a bus to ride to and from school. This service will be provided from only one pickup and dropoff location designated by a parent or guardian. Business deliveries will not be provided. If there are changes after submitting a request, a new form should be submitted immediately to ensure the child or children are assigned to the correct bus.
Students who ride the system buses must follow all rules in order to help ensure safe and orderly bus transportation. Discipline will be strictly enforced, officials say, adding families should become familiar with the the school bus and safety rules for students of the Dougherty County School System.
A complete record of policy and state law regarding absenteeism and truancy is available on the system website. A student must attend at least 166 days of the 180-day school year.
A student in grades K-8 absent from school from more than 14 days will be retained, though a student who is retained under this policy and otherwise would have been promoted may appeal to the Student Disciplinary Tribunal for an exception. An appeal must be made in writing to the principal within a week of the end of the 2014-15 year.
The Dougherty County School System serves 8,268 breakfast meals and 13,950 lunches every school day. An average of 53 percent of the total student population eats breakfast and 90 percent eats lunch, daily. Dougherty County School Nutrition has taken the Farm to School pledge in the 5 million meals challenge campaign where meals are served using locally grown produce.
The DCSS is partnering with Southwest Georgia Project Inc. (SWGAP) to help to bring more locally grown produce into DCSS cafeterias. The system focus is wellness and childhood obesity prevention while improving student’s core content by adding teaching gardens, officials say.
All students in Dougherty County eat breakfast and lunch at no charge through (CEP) Community Eligibility Provision. Twenty-five Dougherty County schools that have made innovative changes to improve the nutritional quality of all foods and beverages offered and sold on school campuses, officials said, with the goal to improve the school nutrition environment and to help students make healthy choices. Adult/visitors may purchase meals for lunch ($2.50) and breakfast ($1.50).
The Dougherty County School System has a uniform requirement for elementary grade students. For 2014-15 students, kindergarten through fifth-grade uniforms are:
— A white or navy collared shirt. In addition, each school has chosen one additional color shirt for students. Contact the school the child will attend to determine the third available color for that school.
— Khaki or navy bottoms, pants or shorts, skirts or jumpers. No more than two inches above the knee may be exposed.
Parents interested in the Extended Day Program (EDP) for pre-k through middle school can pick up an application from their school or call the EDP Main Office at (229) 431-1280. Reduced rates are available for those with qualifying incomes. After school care is offered every school day until 6:10 p.m.
The weekly rate remains at $30 with a decreased fee for additional siblings from the same household. There is also an annual $30 registration fee for each child. Elementary school doors close at 3 p.m. Students will be enrolled in EDP and charged program fees if left on campus beyond the school open periods.