Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 New Schools Smooth out Rough Spots, Settling In

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 New Schools Smooth out Rough Spots, Settling In

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Times-Union staff writer

Faculty, staff and students at three new Arlington schools are letting the dust settle at new facilities, working out transportation snags and generally turning brick and mortar into something special -- their school.

"I think we're finally over the rough spots in the transition," said Melody Davis, principal of Kernan Trail Elementary. "I know the students are excited about the new building. And now that the distractions have faded, we're starting to get lots of parent participation. It's really going very well."

That assessment was echoed by the principals at two other new Arlington schools, although not everything is perfect at the three facilities.

At Kernan Middle School, the media center and gym are not complete. The finishing touches are also being put on Don Brewer Elementary's media center and the playground is incomplete. And at Kernan Trail, the playground is incomplete and shelves are being installed in the media center.

David Gilmore, principal of Kernan Middle School, said his 1,100 students "in essence are attending three schools within one one building." He said the concept permits more control and adult supervision of three groups of students, which has caused a little grumbling among a few students.

"The parents love the idea that we can keep tighter tabs on their children," Gilmore said. "But there's been a little complaining by the kids that this school is more restrictive. I heard one student say, 'This school stinks -- you can't skip school or get into trouble even if you try.'

"Of course the faculty and parents don't think that's such a bad thing," he said, chuckling.

Gilmore said traffic was a little sluggish at first, but things are going more smoothly now. Faculty at all three schools say traffic has improved greatly since parents began to trust that bus routes have stabilized and fewer students are being dropped off and picked up from school.

Annetta Kornblum, principal of Don Brewer Elementary, said things are settling nicely at her school, which is for third- through fifth-graders (K through second-grade students attend nearby Merrill Road Elementary. …

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