School starts for student this Tuesday, all four schools are excited to begin


Summer is over — at least for students and teachers in the Switzerland County School Corporation.

The 2005-2006 school year officially begins next week, as teachers report for an in-service day on Monday, August 15th; and students will arrive for their first official day of classes on Tuesday, August 16th.

“I’m always excited when the school year starts,” superintendent Tracy Caddell said. “The summer seems pretty lonely when there aren’t any students in the buildings.”

“We are anticipating a National Blue Ribbon Award for Switzerland County Elementary School this year after earning one at Jefferson-Craig last year,” the superintendent said. “We are excited about that; and we are also excited about working on raising our attendance and achievement in all of our buildings. It’s going to be a great year in Switzerland County.”

Tracy Caddell said that the schools this year are going to a full inclusionary model for special education. In the past, special needs students left their regular classrooms and went to another room to work with a teacher to get more individualized attention.

This year, those students will be staying in the classroom, and the special needs teachers and aides will come into the classroom and help the student right there. In this way, special needs students will feel more of a part of the student body.

The superintendent also said that the school corporation is moving away from in-school suspension and into a new program designed to keep those students on course.

Under the old system, a student who was removed from the regular classroom setting because of being a discipline problem or for some other reason was placed in an in-school suspension with a teacher’s aide monitoring the class.

Now, teacher Michelle Manaugh will be in the classroom, and when students are taken out of regular classes, they will go into a classroom with a licensed teacher who will work with them to get them back on track and back into a regular classroom while keeping up their studies. She will be available at the high school and middle school three days during the week; and will be at each elementary school one day per week.

The school corporation will also continue to benefit from the CAPE technology grant from the Lilly Endowment; and will also benefit from the work of the Switzerland County School Endowment Corporation — which provides funds for school projects through the use of revenues generated by Belterra Casino Resort and Spa.

The endowment is already helping county residents, as it will again pay the debt service portion of the school’s county tax bill; and also by again paying the textbook rental fees for all students in the county schools, saving the parents several hundred dollars in the process.

It will also be a year of change in the school system, as Switzerland County welcomes 10 new teachers this year, the most in several years, and also sees some veteran teachers changing buildings and assignments.


At Switzerland County Elementary School, principal Elizabeth Jones is looking forward to a new configuration of classrooms this year that will mean additional classrooms of students and teachers in new assignments.

This year Switzerland County Elementary will have four units of first, second, and third grades, and an additional fifth grade class will mean that there will be three units at that level. Jefferson-Craig teachers Becky Curlin (kindergarten) and Dawn Ransdell (third grade) are now at Switzerland County Elementary; and former Title I teacher Tammy Gregory will now be teaching second grade; with former third grade teacher Amy Bovard moving into the Title I classroom.

“We’ve had some movement among the teachers because of a different configuration of class sizes,” Elizabeth Jones said. “We’re going to be encouraging volunteerism this year, because with large numbers of students, we’re going to need parent volunteers. Our goal is to have 2,000 hours of parent volunteerism this year.”

At Jefferson-Craig Elementary, principal Darrell Hansel says that parents should be aware of all of the information that their child will be bringing home early in the school year, and that things such as student information cards need to be completed and returned as soon as possible.

“It’s very important that we be able to reach parents during the school day,” Darrell Hansel said.

New parking areas have been designated for drop off and pick up of students, and parents need to make sure that they observe those markings for the safety of other children entering the building.

He also noted that during the school year that children should not be dropped off prior to 7:45 a.m., as there is no personnel on duty to supervise those children; and that during the year when a parent needs to go to their child’s classroom, they should check in at the office prior to going to the room.

Candis Haskell, principal at Switzerland County Middle School, says that sixth graders will receive their schedules when they attend the orientation program tonight (Thursday). Seventh and eighth grade students should report to their grade level wing in the building on the first day of school, and homeroom assignments will be posted on the classroom doors Tuesday morning.

Supply lists for seventh and eighth graders will be provided by the teachers on Tuesday morning; while sixth graders will also receive those at orientation.

There will be six new teachers at the middle school this year: Ryan Jesop, Chris Mattox, Shellie Fowler, Adam Dennis, Michelle Brett, and Jeff Mersmann; and a new system in the cafeteria should make lunchtime run much more smoothly.

Candis Haskell said that with the new system the students will no longer have cards that they have to keep track of, but instead will give the cafeteria worker a identification number, which when entered will show a photo of the student for verification.

Two lines in the lunchroom should also speed up the lunchtime routine.

Over at the high school, assistant principal Kent Dunning said that students will be given their schedules on the first day of school; and that freshmen will get their schedules and locker assignments at their orientation tonight (Thursday).

When students arrive on Tuesday, they will go to information tables set up in the gym, where they will be given information packets that will direct them as to where they are supposed to go.

New features at the high school include renovated shop area; and freshmen students will be taking a new “Integrated Chemistry and Physics” class that replaces earth science.