Back to Class: New middle school facility greets Troy City students on first day of school year

Published 9:24 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

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Students listen as Debbie Smartt goes over the student handbook at the newly renovated gym at Charles Henderson Middle School Thursday morning.


Troy City Schools started off a brand new school year Thursday, and according to officials, it was a smooth beginning for everyone.

Charles Henderson Middle School’s school day began at a gleaming, newly constructed facility complete with a new library, cafeteria, competition grade level basketball court, and parking lot. All furnishings are new and older buildings were renovated and improved.

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Principal Aaron Brown said the staff was prepared and ready to begin the school year in the new facility.

“I thought I would have to tie bricks to the staff’s ankles— they are so happy they are like balloons that just want to float away,” Brown said. “We have a new environment and new staff members bringing fresh innovative ideas.”

Brown said that everything is student-driven at the school, and that going forward this school year, he wants to make sure teachers are well equipped so students can have everything they need to be successful.

“Teachers are on fire,” Brown said. “They are excited, we all are.”

Vice Principal Lise Fayson said teachers worked late into the night Wednesday to finish their classrooms before students arrived.

“The classrooms look like they’ve been here for years,” Fayson said.

Fayson said she could notice a change in the students when they came into the new facility.

“Students are so excited, it’s like a whole attitude change,” Fayson said. “They are proud of the campus.”

Students at Troy Elementary School had a big first day as well, with many kindergartners and first graders starting their school journey.

“It’s been one of the smoothest mornings I can remember—it was wonderful,” Principal Teresa Simms said. “Kids were excited ready to be in class and ready to learn. We’ll spend the first couple days getting to know each other, procedures, and get set up for a wonderful year.”

Second-grade teacher Vicki Robinson made “smarty pants” name tags for her students to wear on their first day.

“They are wearing their smarty pants name tags, they are coming in smart and will stay smart, no matter what level they are on,” Robinson said. “Claim it and you’ll be that.”

Simms said her goal for the year was that every child and every parent feels welcome, safe and excited about coming to school every day and that every child reaches their full potential for learning. Parent and teacher communication is a priority, and a new tool will help keep the path of communication open this school year.

Remind is a free text service that many teachers will be using this year to send out quick reminders to parents. It can be used to send reminders about tests, field trips and more.

“Everybody’s got a phone,” Sims said “It’s a quicker and more cost effective way for technology to be used to communicate with parents.”