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Hall schools open smoothly despite plumbing glitch
Few students affected by redistricting in south end, officials say
Spout Springs School of Enrichment Principal Arlene Thomas speaks with students Friday morning during their first day of school. Students were given a pep talk by the principal reminding them how to behave and show respect to their teachers and school.

Despite some redistricting changes, the first day of school went smoothly for most Hall County Schools.

There was one hiccup for Martin Technology Academy, however.

“We had some plumbing issues, and we had to really depend on the accommodation from 12Stone Church next door,” said Gordon Higgins, director of communications and athletics for Hall County Schools. “They were very welcoming in opening their facilities to allow students to come over and use the bathroom while our maintenance crews repaired the problem over at Martin.”

Higgins said by about noon, the problem was repaired. In the meantime, the transportation department sent buses to shuttle children back and forth safely.

“The children did very well, the teachers responded well and we got through that,” Higgins said. “Other than that, day one went extremely well at all our other schools.”

Principals from South Hall schools reported few students affected by the redistricting, which was approved by the school board to alleviate congestion at Spout Springs School of Enrichment.

“Out of a possibility of I think 110 kids, we have maybe 10 or 15,” said Barry Walton, principal of Friendship Elementary School. “Obviously with the grandfather clause, folks had to provide their own transportation and many decided to stay. You can’t fault that.”

Chestnut Mountain Creative School of Inquiry and Friendship Elementary were the two schools chosen to relieve some of Spout Springs’ overcrowding. Wade Pearce, principal at Chestnut Mountain, said a few students came from Spout Springs to start the new school year.

“It’s been very smooth,” Pearce said of the first day of school. “We’ve increased our enrollment. I think last year we had about 640 students and this year we’re about 675. I know for sure we got 21 students from Spout Springs.”

Pearce said he also thinks there is growth in Chestnut Mountain because of growth along Ga. 211.

He added there was “a lot of energy and excitement” from teachers and students, and a number of parents shared in that excitement.

“We moved into this district so that we could go here,” said Destinee Frye, whose son goes to Chestnut Mountain. “Isaac, my son, is in the first grade. When we walked toward the classroom this morning he said, ‘Mom, I got this.’”

Fellow Chestnut Mountain parent Christie Crouse said her children, Caden and Kaitlyn, were excited to return to school Friday.

“I have two here and we love it,” Crouse said. “We just moved and we made sure we stayed in the district, so my son has all the same friends and was so excited to be here this morning.”

Third-graders Avery Wood and Eva Doyne said they had fun their first day of school. Doyne said her class worked on a worksheet called “‘First Day Jitters.”

Avery said she was happy to be back at school.

“I was nervous in the morning, but then I had a good day,” she said.

Walton said his staff discussed ways to make the second day of school even better.

“We get together for a faculty meeting briefly after the school day to discuss what worked, what didn’t, what needs to be changed, where a glitch was,” he said. “And then we go from there.”

But Walton said he didn’t see many glitches Friday at Friendship.

“When you’ve got a veteran bunch the way we do and have created kind of a routine over the last few years, we just have things in place,” he said. “We try to be organized and impressive the first day, because sometimes you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

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