By Curt Yeomans
The Eddie J. White K-8 Academy is not a traditional school for Clayton County, and therefore, its open house should be done in a nontraditional way, said school principal Clarence Jackson, on Tuesday.
The academy will be Clayton County Public Schools' first kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school. As the format's name suggests, the school brings an elementary school, and a middle school together, under one roof, with one administration. Provided their families do not move, students entering the academy as kindergartners will stay at the school for more than half of their pre-college educational careers.
Since the Eddie White K-8 Academy's structure is so unique for the county's school system, Jackson said academy officials wanted to do something different to introduce parents, and the community, to the school.
The academy will host a two-day celebration on Aug. 6, and 7, to open the school, and to give parents an opportunity to explore its hallways, and meet their children's teachers. The events will serve as the academy's version of an open house, according to the school's principal. "We broke tradition when we opened a K-8 school," Jackson said. "Therefore, we want to do something different. We are a unique school, and we want to do an open house that is just as unique."
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Friday, Aug. 6, at 5 p.m., according to an announcement posted on the school system's web site. The academy will also hold a "meet and greet" style "Family Day," on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 11 a.m., to 3 p.m., where parents and students will be able to play games, eat hot dogs, take tours of the school building, and meet members of the faculty.
Both events will be held at the school, which is located at 11808 Panhandle Road, in Lovejoy. Jackson said the school is expected to have an enrollment of approximately 1,200 students. He added that the school will have four administrators, 95 teachers, and several secretarial staff members and custodians.
"We want all family members to come by and celebrate the opening of this school, and to see the building, and meet their children's teachers," he said. Jackson said that although the events are targeted toward families of students who will be attending the school this fall, members of the community are also invited to attend both events.
The school is named for Eddie White, a retired Clayton County teacher and administrator, who is also a former member of the county's board of education.
White said he plans to attend both the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and the "Family Day" events. At this point, he said, he can only guess how he will feel when the ribbon is cut for the new school, but he expects excitement, and humbleness are possibilities.
"I think I will be very excited, and I'll be humbled to be honored in this way," he said. The former school board member added that he has told Jackson he will gladly help out at the academy, in any way he can, to "help make it one of the best schools in the county."
But, the ribbon-cutting and "Family Day" events are still over a week away, and right now, administrators and staff members are just trying to get moved into, and settled into, the new school. So far, only a small portion of the academy building is occupied by the school's staff. Jackson said administrators and office staff members have moved some items into the front office, but furniture is still being moved into much of the rest of the building.
Since school officials are still waiting for telephone lines to be hooked up, anyone who would like more information about the celebrations, can e-mail Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.