OAKWOOD - At 8:20 a.m., the main hallway of Johnson High School was a sea of shorts, flip flops and back packs as students negotiated their way through the crowd. About 10 minutes later, the halls were virtually empty, except for a few latecomers.
For middle and high school students at North Georgia Christian School, formerly Westminster Christian, the first day of this school year could be their last opening day at the current school building.
Not only has Westminster Christian School adopted the name North Georgia Christian School as it cuts ties with Westminster Presbyterian Church on Thompson Bridge Road, it also has a new school mascot, a new president and big plans for a brand-new building for its upper school.
Amid the excitement of getting new clothes and supplies, there's a back-to-school ritual that no child looks forward to - vaccinations.
Georgia law requires students of every school, public or private, to have an immunization certificate on file. This document, signed by a physician or other medical professional, states that the child either has had the shots appropriate for his age or is immune because he's already had the disease.
A few Hall County school buses could area traverse roads using liquid propane rather than diesel fuel next year.
Jewel Armour, executive director of operations for the Hall County school system, said with diesel fuel hovering just below the $5 mark, the county must explore alternative fuel sources for powering its 205 buses. The fleet of county school buses is expected to guzzle $2.4 million of diesel gas this school year.
Enrollment projections suggest both the Hall County and Gainesville school systems could have a dramatic increase in their student populations over the next few years, and new schools are being built now to prepare for the expected growth.
Chestnut Mountain Elementary, the newest school in the Hall County school system, will open its doors to students for its very first day of school on Aug. 7. The new Gainesville Middle School, as well as a Hall County middle and high school complex in South Hall, are now under construction and slated to open in August 2009.
A $36.5 million Hall County school is under construction off Spout Springs Road. And within the next month, educators will determine which county students will be gracing its new hallways when it opens in August 2009.
Will Schofield, superintendent of the Hall County school system, said administrators are considering two scenarios to best use the 1,500-student school.
More than 30,000 students enrolled in Gainesville and Hall County schools will receive a free public education this year.
Thousands more will fork over hefty tuitions to attend private schools, while more than 900 children from an estimated 541 families in Hall County won't venture outside the comfort of home for a quality education this fall.
Whether your child is starting kindergarten or first grade, or transferring from another school district, here is a checklist for getting your child enrolled into the Hall County or Gainesville school systems: