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Countdown to classroom begins
Preparation key as year starts Thursday
Bus 1 WEB
Mechanic Billy Fain removes the hood of a school bus to perform maintenance in preparation for the new school year, which starts Thursday. - photo by Autumn McBride


The room decorating has begun. Teachers are getting settled. At some schools, welcome signs already grace the hallways.

It may still feel like summer, but as far as Forsyth County Schools officials are concerned, fall will begin when classes resume Thursday.

“We are always ready for the change of seasons … it’s an exciting time for us,” said Superintendent Buster Evans.

“I have found that usually by this time, kids are so excited about coming back to school that any reticence that they might have had two weeks ago just somehow or another dissipates and they’re ready to get back into the swing of things.”

At North Forsyth High, some students have been ready for a while. Principal Beth Hebert said the student council has been hard at work forging something new for the first day.

“They wanted to make it exciting for students to come back to school, instead of going through the same routine,” Hebert said. “It was all student driven.”

Instead of a full day of classes, North students will spend Thursday rotating among four different sessions.

They include a guest motivational speaker, pep rally, general information session and presentation from clubs and organizations.

The second half of the day is a mini-schedule, with students spending about 15 minutes in each of their regular classes.

“They can get a syllabus and give information teachers have to collect the first day,” Hebert said. “That will allow us to be ready to go the next day.

“We hope it forms a new tradition here at North.”

Hebert said the event will help incoming freshmen with the transition from middle school.

Evans said the most difficult adjustment may be for incoming kindergarteners, “because [they] have not been in school yet before.”

The transition is also a challenge for parents sending a child to kindergarten for the first time.

But many of the system’s elementary schools have prepared for that, offering events and programs for first-time students.

Brookwood Elementary allows parents to ride the bus to school Tuesday with their kindergarteners. When they arrive, the students can meet their teachers.

For all students, the new school year brings changes. Evans suggested the best way to prepare is to be prepared.

All schools have events planned this week, including open houses.

Individual events, along with tools and supplies needed by students, can be found on each school’s Web site.

Evans said learning bus schedules is also important.

School starting on a Thursday will help alleviate stress, giving students a chance over the weekend to review information, buy forgotten supplies and adjust to the schedule.

“They get comfortable, those first couple of days of the routine, and then they can jump in and get going … the next Monday,” he said.

Overall, though, Evan said going back to school is “an exciting time for us.”

“I was with a group of about 100 teachers [Friday] and they were so pumped up it was unbelievable,” he said. “They were so excited and it always renews my spirit to see such excitement among our teachers.”