What’s new in the district


News Publisher

There’s always something new going on in the public school system. Sometimes changes affect a few schools in one area of the county – sometimes it’s county-wide.
This year, three schools in the Atmore area are affected with shifts in students and/or grades.
Pre-K and fourth grade
It isn’t like Escambia County Middle School is sending some students away. They’re just not coming to ECMS this school year.
The fourth grade was moved to the middle school six years ago from Rachel Patterson Elementary School. This year the Board of Education decided to keep the fourth grade at RPES, freeing classrooms at ECMS and getting an elementary grade back to an elementary school. No space problem for RP – the pre-k classes that were there before are being placed at A.C. Moore School which now will have six pre-k classes.
Escambia County School Assistant Superintendent Michele Collier sees this as a win-win for all schools.
Traditionally, fourth (and even fifth) grade are elementary grades, she said. Having the fourth grade at ECMS has presented a unique challenge to the administration in that the curriculum is different from that of a middle school.
The placement of pre-k students at A.C. Moore creates an environment that’s all pre-k.
“I believe [Principal] Amber Dunaway will do a great job there,” Collier said.
At Rachel Patterson, Principal Toya McMillian has her third-graders another year as they advance to the fourth grade, allowing them to be true elementary students another year.
At ECMS, Principal Forrest Jones will have a few classrooms that can be used for small group and intervention. With emphasis on reading and math, Collier said, intervention is critical in working with students who are not on grade level.
Cool buses
For the first time, all 64 school buses in the district are air-conditioned. With school starting back in early August, students and drivers still have hot weather to contend with.
Escambia County Schools Transportation Director Billy Mills said the cool buses are a game-changer.
“We hope to be able to recruit and keep more drivers,” Mills said. “In fact, since word is out that we have air-conditioned buses, we’ve had inquiries from other districts about driving jobs.”
Getting and keeping drivers is a challenge across the county.