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Posted: August 3, 2013 8:30 p.m.

Owens thrilled to start new year

Students are back in their Newton County classrooms, and everyone at Alcovy High School is enthusiastic and ready for a new school year, according to the school’s new principal, Sandra Owens.

A little more than 1,500 students attended the first day of school at Alcovy Friday.

Owens said Newton County School System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey greeted her at the school; Essex Bank, one of the high school’s Partners in Education, brought AHS teachers doughnuts and juice to start their day; and lunch in the cafeteria with the schools students’ went smoothly.

"All the administrators, faculty, and staff have told me this is the smoothest start ever for Alcovy High School. This is solely a result of their hard work and dedication," Owens said.

"I have never seen this many people working collaboratively and intensely for students. The parents and students can be proud of the faculty and staff of Alcovy High School. I am touched by their enthusiasm and commitment."

Owens, who previously was an assistant principal at Newton High School, said transitioning into the role of principal has been a positive learning experience that’s been different, but she said she wouldn’t change it for the world.

Owen said she has key goals for the year: "to increase the focus on student achievement, improve instructional excellence, and improve teacher morale."

Owens also said she wants to increase the graduation rate, establish professional learning communities in each department, and improve parental involvement.

To prepare for the new school year at Alcovy, Owens said she has changed the administrative organization, added a new academic coach, revamped the school’s instructional focus program, and created a new leadership team and a new design team.

In addition, she said more than 40 new personnel have been hired at the school and several repairs and alterations have been done to the building.

Owens said before school began on Friday, she met a lot of parents, students and teachers at the school’s open house on Wednesday night, where she received a lot of positive feedback.

"A faculty member made a comment that a group of teachers were hanging out in the parking lot after the open house for awhile talking. She said that last year, that never happened; they would race to leave," Owens said.

"I take that as a good sign that morale is improving. Now it is time to ensure the students’ morale is moving in the same direction."

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