When you enter Newton County Schools this year, you will for sure notice a big change. All the students and even staff are wearing uniforms, a sea of khaki, blue and orange that school officials agree is a good change.
"This year the first day of school the principal was focused on changing courses, curriculum and scheduling, rather than focusing on kids inappropriately dressed," said superintendent Billy Pierce.
That is not the only new thing at Newton County this year. With four campuses and over 1800 students, the Newton County School District is expanding. It just opened two new wings at the high school.
The district is also doing well academically, with two level 4 schools and the implementation of new academic achievement programs. Leaders say they expect even more improvement this year.
"We started having student level meetings with our teachers in 1st through 6th. Then we started having subject area meetings with our high school teachers," Pierce said. "We have seen this has helped tremendously."
The school district also faired extremely well in light of last year's budget cuts. In fact, it kept all its teachers and even added some. But Pierce cautions that might not be the case next year.
"We can't keep doing that every year," said Pierce. "I hope the legislature restores funding next year. Financially though, we are in good sound shape."
That seems to be the case all the way around. Pierce said there are no weaknesses in the school system technology-wise. Officials say they expect major improvement academically and remain financially sound.