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Time to learn: Cotton visits schools on first day
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Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton speaks with freshmen at Magna Vista High School’s Warrior Tech Academy. (Contributed photo)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Local students returned to school Monday, and many in Henry County were greeted by Superintendent Jared Cotton on their first day back after summer vacation.

Cotton, who aims to visit all 14 county schools this week, visited five schools on Monday: Magna Vista High School, Drewry Mason Elementary, Axton Elementary, Laurel Park Middle School and Mt. Olivet Elementary, according to a news release. While at the schools, Cotton greeted students and staff.

Students at Magna Vista High School talked with him about their schedules and the new collaborative spaces within Warrior Tech Academy. Warrior Tech is a school within a school at Magna Vista. It opened a year ago and is the first New Tech Network school in the state. Project- and problem-based learning and multi-subject classes are among its hallmarks.

Drewry Mason Elementary’s school-wide racing theme was evident in the hallways and in classrooms where students discussed “racing to success through proper communication,” the release said.

At Axton Elementary, students in Jodie Hall’s second grade class discussed procedures and rules through role-play and problem solving scenarios. Students in Pamela Wall’s civics class at Laurel Park Middle quizzed Cotton on who the first president of the United States was — and shared why it wasn’t George Washington, as is commonly believed, but John Hanson.

Hanson was the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation, according to The presidency as an executive position separate from Congress did not exist until the federal Constitution was ratified.

Cotton stressed the importance of connecting with students.

“Whether it is a child’s first day of school or his/her last, it is important for that day to be a great one. We want students to know that their success is a priority for us and that we’re going to do all we can to help them reach their goals,” Cotton said.

As has been Cotton’s tradition, the first week of school will end with each kindergartner taking home a photo of him- or herself from the week.

“Kindergarten is such an important year. It is a year of growing socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. We know that students are successful in school when there is a positive, cooperative home-school relationship, and I am excited to build powerful relationships with the families of the Class of 2027,” Cotton said.

“Everything went very smoothly today. Students, teachers, and staff were excited to begin a new year, and the day was reflective of that enthusiasm,” Monica Adams Hatchett, HCPS’ coordinator for family and community engagement, stated in an email.

HCPS has 7,015 students, 605 full-time teachers (the division also has aides, tutors, etc.) and 116 buses, Adams said.


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