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Back To School Time

While Brookhaven schools and BrookhavenAcademy prepare for their first day of classes on Tuesday, theLincoln County School District opened its doors to a new academicyear earlier this week and school officials reported a successfulstart to the year.

    “I’ve been doing this eight years and this is the smoothest I’veseen it in a long time,” said Lincoln County Superintendent ofEducation Terry Brister Friday following students’ first day ofclasses on Thursday. “Teacher and student organization has beenfantastic. The bus routes went well, which we usually have aproblem with it.”

    Brister said enrollment looks high across the district, though itwill continue to fluctuate for several weeks due to lateenrollment.

    High enrollment is especially pronounced at Enterprise AttendanceCenter, which currently has a school-wide population of more than880 students.

    “We are looking at 20 more (students) than last year,” saidEnterprise Principal Shannon Eubanks. “Every year we are biggerthan before.”

    The most growth has occurred at Enterprise in the fifth to eighthgrades, Eubanks said. Eubanks called those years “very formative”and expressed excitement that so many parents are entrusting theirchildren to Enterprise during those years.

    Bogue Chitto Attendance Center’s principal, Dr. Stacy Adcock,believes his teachers and students are well prepared to begin a newyear.

    “You have relaxed and gathered your wits from over the summer,”Adcock said. “Our teachers seem to be very motivated andhappy.”

    Adcock said the stress of finding classrooms on the first day isnot something most Bogue Chitto students experience.

    “We are a small attendance center so the only group that is lookingfor a room is the sixth-graders who have moved on to seventhgrade,” he said.

    Looking across the district, Brister held up the first two days ofLincoln County classes as a model for the future.

    “I walked the halls today and told my teachers, whatever we’redoing this year we need to do every year,” Brister said.

    In the Brookhaven School District, a new superintendent means somesmall changes as the district prepares for its classes, which beginon Tuesday.

    Dr. Lisa Karmacharya, who took the superintendent post in March,implemented district-wide staff development this year.

    “I think we have made great efforts across the district to preparefor the kids,” Karmacharya said.

    Staff development included training in teaching reading throughcontent and using technology in the classroom. Some nationaltrainers were brought to Brookhaven for certain subjects.

    The city schools also sponsored an employee health fair for thefirst time, with the goal of optimizing employee health andperformance.

    District-wide training was important to Karmacharya, she said,because it aids in the pursuit of a major goal she has for thedistrict.

    “We want to have a system-wide development and improvement,”Karmacharya said.

    The enrollment growth of Enterprise is matched by Mamie MartinElementary’s growth in the city. Karmacharya said its student bodyhas significantly increased over last year’s, but enrollmentfigures were unavailable.

    Brookhaven Academy, a private school, has also undergone some newback-to-school projects that are wrapping up.

    Headmaster Mike Sumlin said the academy saw new painting,technology upgrades, and renovations in the junior high and highschool bathrooms over the summer.

    As he anticipates 2011-12, Sumlin does not think the beginning of anew year requires a very long adjustment period for students andstaff.

    “We orient pretty quickly,” he said. “It’s kind of like riding abicycle.”