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School system planning a busy summer
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The Effingham County Board of Education discussed upcoming improvements to its schools and the next steps for the new Rincon Elementary School.

Superintendent Randy Shearouse said at last Wednesday’s board meeting the timber harvesting at the Rincon Elementary site is completed.

The board planned to approve a site subcontractor for Rincon Elementary’s first phase, but postponed the action after finding complications in the proposal. Board members have a special called meeting this morning at 8 a.m. to approve phase 1 sitework. The logger completed harvesting the timber at the Rincon Elementary site last month.

Rincon Elementary is set to open for the 2017-18 school year.

The new STEM addition to the Effingham College and Career Academy, set to open for the Aug. 4 start of the school year, is on schedule. The roofing has been completed, and most of the sprinkler work, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical rough-ins are complete         The school system has a list of maintenance to get done this summer while the schools are on summer vacation. The majority of the last week of school was spent preparing for graduation, but now that school is out of session, more projects are in progress. The improvement at the press box at South Effingham High School that is used for football and band competitions is moving along and the steel needed for the job will be delivered in approximately six weeks.

“We do have a lot going on this summer,” Shearouse said.

Major areas of focus for the school system this summer will be servicing and cleaning HVAC equipment, several larger lighting projects, significant painting around district, and upgrades to HVAC equipment at Sand Hill Elementary. In approximately two weeks, Effingham County School System will begin taking buses to Fort Valley for instillation of air conditioning systems.

School board members also approved the redistricting elementary school students who reside in Goshen Crossing and the entire region east of Highway 21 from South Effingham Elementary to Blandford Elementary.

The School Nutrition program is preparing for the summer feeding program, which has 12 locations around the county. This year, the school system added South Effingham High as a location after it did not qualify the previous year. Last year the program served 23,994 lunches to the children of Effingham.

The school system has added breakfast as an option for those locations that will have children on the premises during breakfast time. They are projecting 29,000 lunches and 20,000 breakfast meals being served over the 29 operating days of the summer feeding program. The program started June 6 and goes through July 15, with July 4 being a holiday.

“I heard great comments about that,” Shearouse said. “A lot of kids are being fed throughout the system this summer.”

Effingham teachers will attend training sessions this summer to lower the number of days teachers have to be out of the classroom next school year for training.

On May 31, all of the new certified employees for the county were invited to attend a Mentor-Protégé Meet and Greet event at Ebenezer Middle School with a purpose of exciting and informing the new certified staff.

“It was a good time to meet their mentors and get used to the way things are done here in Effingham,” Shearouse said.

The school system has hired 96 certified and 15 classified employees for the coming school year. The school system has received 827 certified and 908 classified applications within the last calendar year.

When discussing the pre-k spots at each school and the significant waiting lists at Marlow Elementary and Guyton Elementary, Shearouse mentioned the idea of adding more pre-k classes in coming years. A total of 296 applications were received for School Choice for the 2016-17 school year and of these, 23 were denied.

“Class sizes right now are around 26-27,” Shearouse said.

Effingham has been selected as a Georgia USDA Best Practices Award Winner as well as being recognized for their Farm-to-School programs with Effingham being one of six to receive this recognition. The system had 17 referrals of positive scoliosis screenings for follow up medical diagnosis and treatment which is an aid the school nurses offer.