Area schools welcome back students
Students and teachers are back in action this week, as the 2011-2012 school year began Monday at both Piggott and Rector.
"Everything's gone real well," Piggott superintendent Ed Winberry said of the start of school. "Everybody is looking forward to another good year."
While the start of the year can often be a little disorienting for new students, such as those entering kindergarten or seventh grade, superintendents at both schools said efforts have yielded a smoother transition in nearly all cases.
"It seems like everyone has settled in real quick," new Rector superintendent Johnny Fowler said. "Everything has gone smoothly. It almost feels like the third week of school because everyone has settled in so well. That's due to the teachers and everyone here at the school working well and making the transition back to school so easy for the students."
At Piggott, a positive sign has been an increase in enrollment. Student numbers are up in most classes. Based upon figures from the first day of classes, elementary has 510 students and high school has 537. There are 40 young participants in ABC Preschool, as well.
"Enrollment at both campuses is up right now, and we hope that continues," Winberry said. "That's always a good sign."
Enrollment has remained steady at Rector. The school has a total of 590 students in grades k-12 as of right now, but those numbers tend to fluctuate through the Labor Day holiday. There are 332 students in elementary and 258 in high school.
These numbers are not official, however. The schools will submit their official enrollments to the Arkansas Department of Education on Oct. 1, based upon the number of students at that time.
Both superintendents noted the importance of a school to small communities like Piggott or Rector, and vice-versa. While each school provides jobs and activities in addition to education, the ongoing community support is critical in further adding to the districts' overall strength and ability to meet students' needs.
"The school is a huge part of our community," Winberry said. "Things like athletics, classroom events and special programs are a point of pride for our students and the community. The support we get from the community and the parents is important and appreciated."
"I'd like to thank our patrons for their continued support," Fowler said. "It means a lot to the students when they have this type of community support because it lets them know there are people who want them to succeed and do well."