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Garrett Elementary students will be changing classes throughout the day this school year

Garrett Elementary

Garrett Elementary has a newly rebuilt 55,000 sq. ft. building complete with two stories and 23 classrooms. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 9, 2011)

News 12 This Morning / Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- This new school year, 300 students at Garrett elementary are learning the ropes of their new schedule.

Third grader Destiny Newsome has one word to describe her new school.

"Awesome," she said.

As students walk through the halls of Garrett Elementary they are getting a first look at the newly rebuilt 55,000 sq. ft. building complete with two stories and 23 classrooms.

Principal Paula Kaminski wanted the designs to motivate students.

"It's not boring, it's not beiges and browns," Kaminski said.

Instead, the colors inside pop.

"I like the designs and like they have a bunch of cool stuff for all the kids," Destiny said.

Along with new classrooms, students like Destiny are getting used to another new element.

"Well, like, switching classes and being able to do a bunch of classes with different teachers," she said.

It's a new master schedule that has students traveling to different classes. It is the first of its kind for an elementary school in Richmond County.

"You are pulled apart as a classroom teacher when you have so many subjects that have to be done in a day," Kaminski said.

Now the second, third, fourth and fifth graders will spend about an hour in math science and social studies. The only exception is language arts classes like Mrs. Lane's, where they will spend an hour and 25 minutes.

"Surprisingly, the students have done much better than I would have expected," said Josephine Lane, who teaches third grade language arts. "They seem to be excited by the idea of going from teacher to teacher."

Some students are getting used to the idea to not leave supplies in their desk, but Destiny is focused on making this her best year.

"I'm gonna try to reach new goals, to get all A's and not miss one day of school," she said.

School officials will be monitoring the new master schedule very closely. If it’s a success at Garrett Elementary, Kaminski says other schools in Richmond County may follow in their footsteps.

The $7 million it took to rebuild the school came from SPLOST funds voters voted on in 2009.


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