Barrow school year finally ends

WINDER - Barrow County students are ending the school year today, about two weeks after other students in the area began their summer vacations.

Nearly 600 students graduated from the school district this year - 268 on Thursday from Apalachee High and 322 tonight from Winder-Barrow High, Saunders said.

The start of the school district's school year had been pushed back because of construction projects taking place at Apalachee and Winder-Barrow high schools, Superintendent Ron Saunders said. Additions are being built to increase the capacity of both schools to 1,800 students, he said.

Starting the 2007-08 year on Aug. 24 allowed for some of the construction to be completed without the increased traffic, Saunders said.

"Kids weren't having to walk over construction workers and each other," he said.

There are pros and cons with each calendar, and one drawback this year was that students had less time to prepare for the state-required Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, Saunders said. The decreased study time, coupled with the new state curriculum, may have hurt some of the eighth-graders scores.

On the other hand, the school district also had a couple of weeks at the end of the year to concentrate on building the eighth-graders' math skills, he said.

Overall, Saunders said it was a good school year. The extra classrooms at the high schools may allow the school district to save money. The school district owns 28 portables, and it may not have to lease any this upcoming year, he said.

"I want to commend the teachers and students for the flexibility and patience they've had," he said.