PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

August 27, 2013

Area schools are off to a good start

PORT ARTHUR — The worst part of the first day of school varies depending on perspective. To most students, it’s the sound of a 6 a.m. alarm clock jolting them from their summer slumber. For most teachers, parents and administrators, traffic is the bane of the day.

“Our kids need to get back in the rhythm of getting up early and going to bed early and getting out of that summer sleep,” said Port Neches-Groves ISD Superintendent Rodney Cavness. “I saw a bunch of tired faces, but they'll get acclimated.”

However, even the sleepy-eyed students and dreary weather didn’t put a damper on the first day of the 2013-14 academic year for Cavness.

“Take the traffic out of it, and it was a pretty perfect day,” he said.

That seemed to be the general consensus at the Mid-County schools on Monday.

“The students were really, really excited about coming back,” said Port Arthur ISD Interim Superintendent Mark Porterie. “The parents really cooperated, and you could tell that the teachers had really planned their lessons accordingly.”

Nederland ISD Superintendent Robert Madding said that despite a couple of elementary classrooms that were slightly too warm due to the recently installed air-conditioning units, all went smoothly.

“They're all fine now,” he said. “We're going to have a great year.”

Even the youngest students seemed immune from the first day of school jitters. Five-year-old Aniraeya Jones, a kindergartner at Staff Sergeant Lucien Adams Elementary in Port Arthur, was all smiles when her father picked her up. And James Jones had no reservations about his daughter entering kindergarten.

“She was in pre-K last year,” he said.

Several districts will see changes this year. PAISD students returned to a much more stringent dress code that prohibits hoodies and cargo pants.

“We had some at the secondary campuses, but not an overabundance like we had in the past,” Porterie said. “Once we reminded them, they were fine.”

Students at NISD are now permitted to bring their iPads, e-readers and other electronic devices with the implementation of the district’s “Bring Your Own Device” policy. Secondary campuses aren’t quite equipped yet, but will be next summer, Madding said.

“We need to get Wi-Fi set up in all the secondary schools,” he said. “That will be in place next summer.”

Cavness said that the district will continue its active-shooter training into the school year, beginning with Thursday’s administration team meeting.

“We just got a lot of good feedback from our teachers,” he said. “It's a good plan, and it’s not something we're going to abandon.”

And of course, with the return of school comes another Texas tradition — Friday night football. PN-G kicks off the regular season Friday night against Silsbee at The Reservation.

“I saw a lot of good last Friday night against Texas City,” Cavness said. “We’ve just got to get out there under the lights and go live and see how things go.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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