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The first day at Southside Middle School last year

Back to school

By Michael Butler

It's time. Early August these days means back to the schoolhouse. Students in the Tallassee School System return to their classrooms this week. The first day of the 2018-19 school year is Thursday, Aug. 9.

"A couple of years ago, we actually starterd our in-service days (for teachers) on July 31. That was kind of a shock to a lot of people," superintendent Wade Shipman said. "The mindset of starting (on a Thursday) is the first days of school you're handing out textbooks and going through classroom rules. You start with that short week to transition into a new year. It seems to work out really well."

Shipman remembers back when school started around Labor Day in September.

"Back in the day when you had maybe a week and then you had Labor Day, it was a bit different. Labor Day for us is almost a month into the school year at this point."

There have been conversations about going back to the old format of starting school closer to September.

"There have been movements in the state legislature wanting to have a later start because if you go back later there are people still vacationing into August with more tourist dollars being spent in the state. There may be some truth to that. I think people decide to spend those tourist dollars at another time during the year.'

With the early start, students and teachers get the luxury of the final day of school coming sooner rather than later in the year.

"There are some places that do a year-round school," Shipman noted. "What they typically do is divide their school year into tri-semesters and take the breaks with two or three weeks between each tri-semester. One of the ideas is you get away from the summer slide with three months off from working academically. There is some validity to that."

The Tallassee High School football team will open its season with Catholic at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium on Friday, Aug. 24. The annual "Tiger Night" will be on Friday, Aug. 17.

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