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Countdown to classes » Marco Eagle

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Kids returning to school on Marco really soon!

"A new school year always starts early for teachers, but Monday this week a group of 20 Marco Island Charter Middle School students found themselves in the same position.

The group, comprising 7th and 8th graders, had been chosen as peer mentors to orient incoming 6th graders to the school.

Behind the initiative is child and adolescent psychotherapist Norka Malberg, who conducted the first training session for the mentors Monday morning at the school.

A mother of two MICMS students herself, Malberg said the mentor students were chosen and referred by their teachers, based on achievements, personality and community spirit.

“Each will have five students assigned to them, and they’ll basically be their big brothers and sisters,” she said. At the same time, Malberg said, this gives the 20 mentors a chance to be leaders.

Cathy Callahan, the school’s coordinator of curriculum and staff, said the “high academic” program will continue, and that the school is starting its ninth year with a high FCAT score — and is also meeting its annual yearly progress.

She said just three students out of 380 needed extra tuition over the summer. Also encouraging, Callahan said, was that the school did not have to cut any positions, or any sports or extra-curricular activities.

Orientation for 6th grade and new students is from 6 to 7 p.m., this Thursday.

Callahan said donations of school supplies are always welcome, as are volunteers to work in the office, with students or in the library.

Over at Tommie Barfield Elementary, teachers walked the long corridors with books and supplies for the classrooms. Assistant Principal Jackie Prosser said one of this year’s early highlights will be a new music program under the tutelage of teacher Lisa Braren.

“She got a whole pallet-full of new equipment ... CDs, DVDs, text books and equipment,” Prosser said.

Open house for all TBE students will be this Friday, from 2 to 3 p.m., when students and parents can see their new classrooms and say hello to their respective teachers.

Footnote: With tropical activity traditionally coinciding with the new school year opening, the school district reminds parents of hotlines and information sources regarding school closures should storms hit.

Call the Emergency Information Hotline at (888) 994-NEWS (6397) for toll-free updates in English, Spanish, and Creole. Note that this is a new phone number, introduced in August of last year (2008).

Log on to the home page of the school district’s Web site at

Watch The Education Channel, Comcast cable 99.

School status information is also released to all local media as it becomes available, but TV and radio stations must sometimes edit the information given to them for the sake of brevity. The three district-controlled sources will always provide the latest and most complete information available."
-- Countdown to classes » Marco Eagle
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Countdown to classes » Marco Eagle Kids returning to school on Marco really soon!