County school to launch preparatory program

Published 5:05 am Monday, August 6, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Area students are preparing for the transition from spending the hot summer days outside playing ball or swimming to spending hours doing math, science and English assignments at school.
Forty-two Escambia County Middle School eighth-grade students are preparing for an extra feat as they will become a part of the inaugural Escambia County Middle Preparatory School.
According to ECMS principal Zickeyous Byrd, the students will begin taking extra courses, which will help them prepare for their transition into high school.
The students in the preparatory school will take some of their ninth grade classes along with their eighth grade courses.
The 42 students in the ECMPS will have the opportunity to take biology, algebra and Spanish. According to Byrd, future courses will include art and dance. Teachers for the courses include, biology, Yolanda Walters; algebra, Catherine Tims and Spanish, Joanne Dailey.
Byrd said he hopes next year that more than 42 students will be able to take the preparatory courses but this year the funding would not allow it.
There are qualifications that the students must meet before being accepted into the preparatory school. Students must be in the eighth grade. Also, a committee looks at academic and behavioral success during grades 5-6 and especially grade 7 to make sure they've done well.
Parental support is also considered when choosing the students for several reasons but one of the reasons is because of the time the students meet.
Byrd said the reason for initiating the program was because he wanted students in Atmore to have the same opportunities as students in other school systems.
Byrd said he is happy to provide the preparatory school to students and asks for the community's support when school begins Aug. 9.