HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — On the first day back, one Hamilton County school demographic is changing.
As students at The Howard School got off the bus, they were greeted with cheers on this first day of school.
“We have had teachers here working, getting ready. Preparing lessons, waiting for this first day back so we could be first day ready for our students,” said Dr. LeAndrea Ware, the executive principal at The Howard School.
Dr. Ware says they are growing.
“We are excited about that growth,” she said.
She says they ended last year with a 1,100. According to Dr. Ware, five years ago they were 98 percent African American.
She says at last count they have shifted to 50 percent African American, 48 percent Hispanic and two percent other.
But she says that might change with the new students coming in on Wednesday.
“That has challenged us to make sure we have those bilingual instructors, we have the supports necessary to make sure that not only are we meeting their needs academically, but also in terms of those social emotional needs for our students,” Dr. Ware said.
Next door is the brand new Howard Connect Academy.
“Oh my goodness. It is the best day ever. For us it is like Christmas,” said Mardee Miller, the Howard Connect Academy principal.
It opened its doors to 150 sixth graders. Miller says it’s an innovative way to do middle school
“What if we had a space where they could work on all things engineering and to see all of the here, the potential, the possibilities are endless for our kids and that is what I am most excited about,” Miller said.
Back at The Howard School, with a revitalized theater program and a brand new stadium under construction, there is a lot going on.
Dr. Ware estimates there will be more than 1,200 students this year at The Howard School.