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Schools look toward spring semester

Covington County students are now out on Christmas break, but local superintendents are already looking forward to what the spring semester will hold.

Opp City Schools’ superintendent Michael Smithart said they had a great start to the year.

“There really isn’t a specific thing that I can highlight to show that it was a great fall semester,” Smithart said. “There are so many variables that make a school year great and we had a lot of things that we accomplished that I am proud of. There was just an overall good feeling.”

With the spring semester only a couple of weeks away, Smithart said they are gearing up for testing.

“Gearing up for testing is definitely going to be a big push for us when we come back,” Smithart said. “We are doing some things and our teachers are trying to prepare our students for the new testing that they will see in the spring. Specifically how the questions are going to be phrased and test-taking skills.”

Covington County Schools’ superintendent Shannon Driver said his students worked very hard this past semester and they deserve a break.

“I think overall we had a very good first semester,” Driver said. “I know everybody is really excited about having a nice long break to prepare for the second semester. I am very pleased with how this year has gone. I think we had a very good and productive year. Our reports cards came out in the beginning of the year, which reflected how well we did the previous year. The report cards definitely inform us what our strengths and weaknesses are going forward. Obviously, we are looking forward now and preparing for our next semester.”

With the new testing coming in the spring, Driver said his teachers are working hard to prepare their students.

“In the spring semester we are going to have the new testing, as well as preparing to implement our new math course of study,” Driver said. “That is going to involve a lot of professional development during the next semester and over the summer. We definitely have a busy time ahead of us preparing for that. There’s going to be a lot of transitions, but we are kind of accustomed to that.”

Andalusia City Schools’ superintendent Ted Watson said it was a big fall semester at ACS.

“The fall semester was a good one in terms of having a smooth start,” Watson said. “Academically, as far as the elementary school, we are proud to see their test scores go up. We were tickled to get into the stadium, dedicate the stadium and the auditorium and it has just been a good year. We are anxious for next year to come upon us to see if the plans we put in place for academics is as good as we think it is going to be.”

As far as the new testing goes, Watson believes once stability is put in place, ACS will do very well.

“When it comes down to it, it is all reading, writing and arithmetic,” Watson said. “Now, it is just a matter of getting a handle of what they are wanting from us. I’m just tickled that we finally have some math standards nailed down and that we have the state superintendent in place for two more years. I will be anxious to see how this test lines up with the standards that we have been asked to teach because the previous ones were not. I’m looking for some stability and when that stability comes, then you’ll see us do better on the national scale.”