More than 1,500 students are expected to walk through the doors of Commerce’s four schools when the 2014-15 school year begins Friday. If those numbers pan out, that will be an increase of about 40 students from the first day of school last year.
Superintendent Joy Tolbert said enrollment numbers as of last Thursday were 404 at Commerce Primary School, 219 at Commerce Elementary School, 460 at Commerce Middle School and 417 at Commerce High School.
Meanwhile, enrollment continued early this week and will likely continue through the next week, but officials also point out that not everyone who enrolls shows up.
The system has hired 21 new employees, counting teachers, cafeteria workers, etc. It has also added the vocational agriculture pathway at Commerce High School and will add a Spanish teacher for eighth grade students at CMS, allowing them to take Spanish I for high school credit.
The system is using Title I funds to add a “parent involvement coordinator” for the primary and elementary schools. Stephanie Miceli will be the liaison between parents and school, with her focus on increasing student achievement. She will plan “parent nights” and activities to help parents help their children and will work with teachers and administrators to apprise them of parental and community needs.
First Year A Charter System
This is also the first year the city schools will operate under their new “charter school system” status.
“Since 2014-2015 will be the first year of our charter system status, this school year will be the baseline year for much of the charter contract data,” Tolbert explained by email. “The principals will appoint the first teams to serve as the School Governance Teams. Those individuals will receive their initial training through GSBA (Georgia School Board Association) in September. Those teams will meet approximately 6-8 times during the school year.”
Those teams will figure out how to implement strategies in the system’s charter application for the duration of the five-year contract with the State Board of Education.
Meanwhile the literacy coaching positions at Commerce Middle School were deleted for budget consideration.
Facility Improvements, Technical Upgrades
As opening day nears, the system is resurfacing the driveway at Commerce Elementary School and improving the infield at the CMS track. CMS has a new computer lab on the eighth grade hallway, purchased with federal funds, the Commerce City Schools Foundation presented $28,000 to purchase three iPads for each classroom at Commerce Primary School, and painting and floor work will brighten the system’s hallways. Commerce Elementary School used Title I funds to purchase tablets for every student. The kids will use them as learning tools in the classroom, Tolbert said.