AME 2018: new ‘gifted’ teacher, tightened security

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Cars, buses, kids. Oh my! The first day of classes 2017 following summer vacation for Anna Maria Elementary School starts off with cars, buses and students rolling into the “little school by the bay.” Islander File Photo: Jack Elka

With teachers returning to Anna Maria Elementary Aug. 6 and the first day of classes Aug. 13, the new school year is around the corner.

The year will bring changes.

Tammy Mitchell from Seabreeze Elementary will succeed Sarah Peace as the gifted teacher, working with students deemed gifted for “superior intellectual development.”

Mitchell will work four days a week at AME and one day a week at Ballard Elementary School.

AME principal Jackie Featherston said Peace transferred to the Manatee School of Arts and Sciences after receiving “an offer she couldn’t refuse.”

Also, Jackie Jordan will take on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program at all levels. STEM classes feature project-based learning, involving science experiments and technological exploration.

Featherston said the STEM program will be more of an enhancement to the core classes than a replacement and students will have more opportunities with hands-on experience.

As the program is new to AME, Jordan has been training and speaking to experienced STEM teachers in the county to ready herself for her new role.

AME also will employ new security procedures.

Featherston said the school will lock the front door — the main entrance and exit — after school begins.

People who want to enter during school hours will speak to the front desk clerk through an intercom system that was installed over the summer.

“That’ll be new for all of us,” Featherston said, referring to the school’s new lock-down procedure. “It’s probably one of the biggest new changes, as far as school safety at all of the schools, which is a good thing.”

Last year, teachers at AME were keeping classroom doors locked, but the front door remained open.

Featherston will hold a session with staff to discuss goals for AME in the new year. She expects to have a plan drafted by the end of the month.

“We’re always excited to see the students come back, because the one thing that’s really cool in education is we come to closure on a school year, and then we have a brand new fresh start,” Featherston said. “A new school year, new students, teachers. Very few jobs offer that, a complete finish and then a whole new start, so that’s kind of exciting for everyone.”

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