Education

Smiles, tears mark first day of school in Rock Hill

Summer break over for Rock Hill school district students

Kids in the Rock Hill school district headed back to school Tuesday morning, including students at Ebinport Elementary School, where teachers directed pupils to a new school entrance and parents lined kids along a brick wall for back-to-school pho
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Kids in the Rock Hill school district headed back to school Tuesday morning, including students at Ebinport Elementary School, where teachers directed pupils to a new school entrance and parents lined kids along a brick wall for back-to-school pho

Barely 13 minutes after saying goodbye to tearful parents on the first day of school, kindergartners in Natosha Richardson’s Ebinport Elementary School class were already reciting the days of the week.

Richardson had a trick up her sleeve.

To help the 5-year-olds memorize the days, she began to sing a tune their grandparents would have snapped their fingers to – the theme from the television series “The Addams Family.” (Da-da-da-dum, snap-snap)

Richardson’s kindergartners joined about 18,000 students in the Rock Hill school district who tied their shoes, stuffed their backpacks with bright new school supplies and shuffled off to class Tuesday morning on the first day of school.

Students in other districts in York, Chester and Lancaster counties went back to school on Monday.

The Rock Hill district is kicking off a series of changes this year involving school-choice programs, technology and more.

It is launching a new inquiry-based school-choice program this fall for students in grades three to five at Ebenezer Avenue Elementary School, replacing a Montessori program for students in those grades at The Children’s School at Sylvia Circle.

Rock Hill district leaders have said the inquiry program allows educators to make sure older elementary school students are learning state standards, a mandate beginning in third grade, while keeping student choice and other popular elements of Montessori.

District officials plan to build a new $5 million Montessori building on the Ebenezer Avenue campus to open in fall 2017 for children in the 3-year-old to second-grade Montessori program that is based at The Children’s School.

Another change involving school-choice programs is a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, or STEAM program that is being launched this fall at South Pointe High School.

Rock Hill students in seventh and eight grades will receive new laptops this year, replacing the iPads previously used by the group, and high school students will for the first time have laptops for the entire school year. Sixth-grade students will move to laptops in 2017.

The district also has added seven new instructional positions at elementary schools to provide extra support to students in reading and math. It also created five reading-support positions, one at each middle school, to work with students.

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