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Henry BOE starts new year in song

By Rachel Shirey

rshirey@new-daily.com

McDONOUGH — Henry County’s Board of Education kicked off its first meeting of 2013 with a song of inspiration from Tussahaw Elementary in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The youngsters sang “I Have A Dream” to a backdrop of hand-drawn art, and photos of King and the students Monday night.

The group of 14 students who sang to a supportive board, and a crowd of friends and family, received a standing ovation following their performance.

The board later discussed and approved brief issues including out-of-state and overnight school field trips, and the use of school facilities for Big Thinkers Science Exploration.

The board voted all in favor to approve the 2013 field trip requests, such as a trip for Henry County Middle School to travel to Costa Rica for a global studies initiative in June.

“All the field trips are any fields trips that the schools are doing that are not preapproved by the board,” said Superintendent Ethan Hildreth. “So you will see most of them are out of state because anything that’s overnight or out of state [needs approval], most of them are band or chorus trips. And then you have a couple of the ROTC trips as well.”

Hildreth also added that all fundraising is done through the respective organizations and the students going on the trips.

“Usually the trips that get approved by the board now are attached to the curriculum, but are all usually extracurricular in nature,” he said.

Stockbridge High School NJROTC can expect two field trips in 2013. A group of 40 students have been approved to visit Tulane University in New Orleans in early February, and a group of 15 will travel to Pearl Harbor in April.

Only District 3 Board member Mike Griffin had a slight issue with the list of field trips, and wanted to be reassured that chaperones would be present on the trips.

Other field trips include:

• Eagle’s Landing Middle School eighth-graders (150 Students) to visit Birmingham, Ala. in February.

• New Hope Elementary School fifth Grade Jr. BETA Club (23 Students) to visit Washington, D.C. in April.

• Rock Spring Elementary School fifth Graders (112 Students) to visit Rock City and the Aquarium in Chattanooga in May.

• Stockbridge Middle School Band (50 Students) to visit Dollywood in Pigeon Fordge, Tenn., in May.

The board also unanimously voted to approve the use of school facilities for the Big Thinkers Science Exploration to come educate local students.

However, following the vote, Griffin asked what the Big Thinkers organization was.

According to their website, Big Thinkers Science provides interactive and hands-on science programming for elementary-aged children throughout the state of Georgia. Their goal is to inspire children to think big by scientifically engaging with the world around them.

They will be using Pleasant Grove Elementary School and Flippen Elementary School classroom beginning in January, and an East Lake Elementary classroom in February.

The meeting only lasted a total of 27 minutes.