Year-round students return to the classroom

Jul. 20, 2014 @ 12:38 PM

The party is over for more than 3,100 students who attend Durham Public Schools five year-round schools.

Classes start today at Easley, Holt and Pearsontown elementary schools, Rogers-Herr Middle School and the School for Creative Studies. 

Star Sampson, principal at Holt Elementary Language Academy, said in an interview last week that she is excited to start a new school year and to welcome three new teachers from the United Kingdom and one from Jamaica who will begin a three-year visiting teacher stint at Holt.

“I’m just so happy and excited to be able to introduce these teachers,” Sampson said.
The teachers will work at Holt, a Passport Global School, as part of the VIF International Education cultural exchange program.

Sampson is particularly excited about having teachers from the UK and Jamaica come on board because the school’s fifth-graders study Europe.

“We bring in authentic people to bring live experiences to the classroom,” Sampson said.

Holt, a magnet school program, focuses on Global Studies and foreign language. Starting in kindergarten, students have the opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese or Spanish with the goal of becoming conversationally fluent by the end of fifth-grade.

The School for Creative Studies, which opened last year, will grow a couple of grades when last year’s seventh-graders move to eight-grade and its ninth-graders move to tenth-grade.

The school will grow two more grades over the next couple of years to become a 6-12 school.

The school is housed in the former Chewning Middle School, which closed at the end of the 2012-13 school year.

The 2014-15 school year marks a new beginning for the district.

New superintendent Bert L’Homme began work on July 14 and the school board now has three new members – Matt Sears, Mike Lee and Sendolo Diaminah.

L’Homme, the former superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Washington before taking the DPS job, is a former DPS associate superintendent and also served as superintendent of Franklin County Schools.