By TIMES WIRES
Published August 17, 2006
PRE-K PROGRAM A SUCCESS: For the first time, the Hernando County School District offered summer Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten. Hosted at Westside, Pine Grove and Brooksville elementary schools, the program is mandated by the state Constitution.
Although only 60 children registered and 600 are in need of services in the county, Sonya Jackson, executive director of schools, said the first year was successful.
Program administrator Elaine Wooten attributes the low turnout to two issues: No transportation was provided, and it was difficult to get the message out during the summer.
Wooten, who spoke to parents after the term, said that those who did send their children were enthusiastic and pleased. The School Services Department got a letter from one parent who said she was thrilled by how prepared her child was for kindergarten.
TEACHER INDUCTION PROGRAM: Hernando County's teacher induction program welcomed 125 educators. The multiday training session is designed for teachers with fewer than three years of experience and for those new to the district.
"This is a wonderful way for teachers to acclimate to our way of doing things and an opportunity for hands-on training," Sonya Jackson said.
The Hernando County Teachers Association sponsored a "flea market" at the orientation. Teachers who are retiring or leaving the district donate their extra supplies, and new teachers are invited to browse so they can equip their classrooms and supply cabinets.
COMMUNITY SERVICE CLASS: Spring Hill Elementary is offering a Community Service class taught by Karen Mancuso.
Carol Ellis, the school's assistant principal, hopes to see this program replicated in other schools.
In the class, students learn about service careers, with lectures by speakers from the Fire Department, Lighthouse for the Blind and other organizations. Ellis said the class aims to build a sense of community in students while teaching them about how the community works.
Also, Spring Hill Elementary switched from a PTA to a PTSO, or Parent Teacher Student Organization. Aimee Whitehead is president of the new group.
PTSA ELECTIONS: Shari Noriega, president of Fox Chapel Middle School's PTSA, says officer elections are at 6:30 tonight in the media center.
STUDENTS CHOSEN FOR CAMP: Col. James Crigger said two of his senior students were chosen from among 16,000 applicants nationwide to attend space and technology camp over the summer.
Rachel Campbell went to camp at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Alicia Collins attended at the University of Oklahoma. The camp provides hands-on learning.
"Both girls had the opportunity to actually fly a Cessna 172," Crigger said. "They both loved it."