published Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Chattanooga area schools welcome parents, prepare for classes

Melissa Tulloss, center, holds 2-year-old son Cedric Tulloss Jr., right, while registering daughter Brooklyn Tulloss for second grade Wednesday at Soddy Elementary School.
Melissa Tulloss, center, holds 2-year-old son Cedric Tulloss Jr., right, while registering daughter Brooklyn Tulloss for second grade Wednesday at Soddy Elementary School.
Photo by Dan Henry.
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The World Restoration Center will hand out free school supplies at its Chattanooga church at 4004 Dorris St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. In addition to giving away notebooks, pencils and papers, Pastor Jonathan Thomas said the church will provide food, games and music.

Even though she won't be attending, Tameka Rivers can't wait for the first day of school.

The 33-year-old Chattanooga woman was among hundreds of parents filling out paperwork at Howard School of Academics and Technology on Wednesday, which served as the official registration day for thousands of Hamilton County students preparing for the first day of school next Wednesday.

Rivers, who was registering two teenage boys at Howard, said she's had enough of her four children hanging around the house over the past couple months.

"I'm ready for them to get out of my house and go get their education," she said.

  • photo
    Dr. Paul David Smith, Howard School for Academics and Technology

That's a sentiment shared by many parents, said Howard's executive principal, Paul Smith.

"They've had enough of summer," he said. "The parents and the kids -- they're ready."

Hamilton County Schools counts registration day as its first official school day, Smith said, though attendance isn't mandatory. Registration was well attended by both students and their families, Smith said.

"This is the best parent attendance we've had for opening day," he said. "It's been a steady flow of students and parents."

At Soddy Elementary School on Wednesday, hundreds of parents and students squeezed into the cafeteria to fill out paperwork, then wandered the hallways to get a glimpse of new classrooms and meet new teachers. Principal Ralph Fernandez estimated that 80 percent of the school's 370 students were accounted for during the event.

While parents receive information on student nutrition, required vaccinations and attendance policies, Fernandez said registration day also marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the school season.

Fernandez, who is coming to Soddy Elementary after 11 years at Wolftever Creek Elementary, said the day gives him and other new staff and students an opportunity to meet and greet.

"It's a good welcome back to school," he said. "To unofficially just meet everybody, I think, is something that's totally necessary."

Fernandez said most of the parents and students he spoke with are excited about starting a new school year. And for the same reasons that Howard's Smith mentioned.

"Some of them can't wait for the first day," Fernandez said. "The kids have been home 21/2 months. So they're ready."

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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