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Troy City Schools/Pike Lib start classes

By all accounts the 2008-09 school year is off to a good start in the Troy City Schools and at Pike Liberal Arts School.

“Smiling,” is the way Dr. Linda Felton-Smith, superintendent of Troy City Schools, described the students who answered the bell on Thursday morning.

“The students were all smiling and they seemed to be glad to be back in school,” she said. “I think they were ready to return. And, if today was any indication, then it’s going to be a great school year.”

Felton-Smith said the first day of school got off to a good start at all schools from the Early Childhood Center to the high school.

“The teachers started the day by introducing themselves to the new students and allowed the students to introduce themselves,” she said. “I feel that this approach is very important in developing relationships and is essential to learning taking place.”

The biggest “change” system-wide was in the dress code. For the first time, the students who are enrolled in the Troy City Schools came in “uniforms.”

“We had very few students who were not in total compliance,” Felton-Smith said. “But no one was sent home because of non-compliance. All of the comments that I heard from teachers and students were positive. I didn’t hear any complaints. In fact, two third- graders came up to me and said, ‘We’re dressed alike except for our shoes.’ And, I thought that was a very positive comment.”

The superintendent said the schools and the central office received several calls from residents who commented on how nice the students looked as they walked to and from school.

“We expect the 2008-09 school year to be a good one,” Felton-Smith said. “We don’t have all the enrollment numbers in yet but it looks like enrollment will be much the same as it was last year. We’re anxious to get started and excited about the school year.”

Spirits were also high at Pike Liberal Arts School.

Headmaster Ceil Sikes said enrollment was up and Thursday was a great start to a new school year.

“We had to bring more chairs into the cafeteria for our assembly this morning and, even then, some students had to stand,” she said. “We have a lot of new students and we have several new teachers. It’s always exciting to welcome new people to our school.”

Sikes said changes that will make a positive impact immediately are a second computer lab and more emphasis on music appreciation and the fine arts.

“We also have a ‘leadershape’ class, which is designed to build character and teach our students greater responsibility and develop leadership skills,” Sikes said. “One thing they will do is plant a garden and sell the produce they grow. The class will provide opportunities for the students to learn skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.”

Community service hours are required for juniors and seniors.

“Those who are working toward an advanced diploma are required to perform 75 hours of community service and those who are working toward a regular diploma are require to perform 50 hours,” Sikes said. “We want to develop good students and good citizens.”