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By John Coffelt
First impressions are important, so to make sure that that first whole day back to school was just right, area teachers, and also many students, put in some extra-curricular ef-forts to get their schools in A+ shape.
“One big concern for teachers is how their class-room looks when the kids walk in,” said Stephanie Fischer, seventh-grade language arts teacher at Coffee County Middle School. “The environment plays a big role in the expectations and how the kids feel about it.”
Much of the decor in the classrooms are purchased by the teachers, even in some cases even the paint on the walls.
Last week, many Coffee County Central High School teachers and students took-up brush and roller to freshen the pain on the walls.
Youth from the Student Government helped get the common areas back into Raider chic by covering the orange lockers with new coat of black.
Once a predominantly male section of CHS, the vocational wing is now seeing more girls attending classes like Mindy Acklen’s criminal justice class, recently moved to the wing.
“The girls were not happy with the state of the bathroom,” Acklen said, “so we asked permission to fix them up. The girls volunteered their time, and I got some paint.”
What was formerly a no-frills faculty restroom is now pink, green and trimmed with a stenciled white boarder.
“This is nice for them,” Acklen said.
Mostly the teachers took a more traditional patina when it came to their rooms, but spared no less expense.
English 3 teacher Nicole Carney painted the area around her whiteboard, podium and desk in chalk-board black.
Biology teacher Chris Little blends science and students’ art with murals.
“A student designed the picture for me,” she said, referring to an eight-foot cartoon that borders her whiteboard.
“I have these pipes here anyway, I decided to turn this into the Once-ler’s Factory [from Dr. Seuss’ ‘Lorax’],”
Her students last year helped paint the character from a projected blowup.
The corner factory mural is still a work in progress.
Teachers aren’t only fixing their rooms, according to Fischer, who is with the Teacher Association.
“You hear a lot about teachers spending a lot out of pocket and it’s very true.
“This past weekend was a tax-free weekend, and [many teachers] went out and bough school supplies and decorations.”
Fischer said that she keeps some supplies for students that come to class shorthanded.
“You always have students who struggle to bring in those basic things like paper and pencils.”
In her language arts class that also carries over to index cards for journal-ing.
“I try to buy up as many of those that I can. Last year I had a parent who was so great to buy a case of those cards.”
She added that this year, the middle school’s in-service days schedule with more time for the teachers to spend getting their classes ready.