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School's out until Jan. 7
Officials: Learning doesn't have to stop
Students at Kelly Mill Elementary School pack up as school lets out for the year Thursday. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Whether Forsyth County students spent the week having fun with crafts or taking exams, the final bell Thursday signaled the end of school for 2012.

“It is my hope that our Forsyth County students and staff enjoy their time off with much laughter, love and good health, and are able to spend time connecting with family members and friends,” said Forsyth County School Superintendent Buster Evans.

Cindy Salloum, the school system’s chief accountability officer, reminded parents and students that learning can still be a part of the holiday season until school resumes Jan. 7.

“I don’t know that they’re going to want to turn their minds a whole lot to academic things, but if they write some ‘thank-you’ cards for the gifts they’ve received, that’s a good way of practicing their writing skills,” Salloum said. “It’s also a good time for reading for pleasure.”

Playing games like chess and Clue are fun ways to keep their minds active, she added.

“One of the things that parents can do over the holiday is read to their children and listen to their children read,” Salloum said. “Reading is important, so any practice they can do on that is good.

“Anything that they can do to keep their minds sharp without stressing out about it.”

For teachers, the break provides a chance to rest and get re-energized for the second half of the school year. It’s also a time to start putting lesson plans together, grading papers and entering information for report cards, which will come out about a week after school resumes.

Also, students and staff all return to school on the same day next month, so Salloum said teachers likely will spend some time preparing so they’re not scrambling that day.

And when school does start back, it’s straight to work. From January through March, students will be preparing to take the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and End of Course Tests.

Before that there’s the eighth-grade writing test in mid-January, said Salloum, adding that the “fifth-grade writing tests are in March and there’s still some high school graduation testing being done.”