Dear Parents, Students, and Citizens,
With school starting on August 25, our students have enjoyed a longer summer break. I hope it has been a time for rest and renewal.
Our school district, however, has been very busy. Two new schools are being constructed in Lincoln County: Lincolnton Middle School on the Startown Road and Norris S. Childers Elementary School on Rock Dam Road. Both schools are scheduled to open August 2006. High school renovations and expansions are occurring at East Lincoln, Lincolnton, and West Lincoln. These projects are scheduled for completion in 2006-07.
Starting this school year, many students will enjoy the benefits of already-completed renovations. Over the summer, Battleground Elementary, Catawba Springs Elementary, G.E. Massey Elementary, Iron Station Elementary, Love Memorial Elementary, North Brook Elementary, S. Ray Lowder Elementary, and Union Elementary all received numerous repairs.
These much needed improvements, expansions, and new schools are addressing our student growth. Ten years ago, our school system had 9,300 students enrolled. When we open our doors to students this Thursday, we are anticipating approximately 11,650 students. Our growth is a reflection of what is happening all around us. A quick drive through Lincoln County reveals a landscape which is being rapidly transformed by new development. With the support of our citizens and the cooperation of the county commissioners, we are addressing this growth with the passage of school construction bonds.
Even though we are pleased to report the progress on our building program, I am even more excited to report how our schools are performing. Last year, in grades 3 through 8, over 86 percent of our students were at or above grade level in reading and over 91 percent of our students were proficient in math. In our high schools, over 80 percent of our students demonstrated proficiency on end-of-course tests. In all three areas, we are above the state average. Congratulations to our students, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff on a job well done. Our Board of Education members are also to be commended for their endeavors. It takes teamwork, effort, and commitment to help all students strive to reach their potential.
We are excited about our successes, but we still have much to accomplish. Our entire community has a stake in â€œEducating the Future,â€ which is Lincoln County Schoolsâ€™ motto. Todayâ€™s students will soon be responsible for our county remaining a great place to live, work, and raise a family. The successes of the coming school year will help lay the foundation of our tomorrow. I look forward with pride to another year of leading a school system composed of dedicated employees, employees who work every day to provide a quality education for our studentsâ€”for our future.
Welcome back to school!
Jim R. Watson, Ed.D.