New Marietta High School Principal Forrestella Taylor leaves the front office on Tuesday to wrap up some last minute details before the start of the 2015-16 school year, which starts this morning.
Staff-Kelly J. Huff
Marietta High School mathematics teacher Julie Pinto, sorts through items each of her new students will be given this morning to succeed in her classroom during the school year. Pinto was recently named the Marietta City Schools’ High School Teacher of the Year and the overall District winner of the Teacher of the Year honor.
Staff-Kelly J. Huff
Day before MCS schools start
MARIETTA — About 9,000 students are expected to walk through the doors of 11 schools today, as the first day of class begins for Marietta City Schools.
Last year the district served about 8,800 students. This year, more than half of Marietta’s students, about 5,600, will ride to school in one of the district’s 107 buses, which total about 3,400 miles each day.
The district’s Teacher of the Year, Julie Pinto, is starting her 14th year at Marietta High School and said students should expect a “warm welcome but be ready to work.”
“They can expect to find excited, caring teachers that are ready to start the year,” Pinto said. “And they can expect to start running right from the beginning. We start teaching material from the beginning, making sure they understand the foundation of whatever subject they’re in.”
With 1,148 employees, Marietta City Schools has 639 teachers.
For new students, Pinto said all of the teachers are there to help them.
“They need to not be worried,” Pinto said. “If they can’t figure out their schedule or their next classes, the teachers will help them get to where they need to be.”
Along with a new school year, Marietta High School will also welcome new principal Forrestella Taylor, who was previously principal at Marietta Middle School for two years, and an assistant principal for ninth grade at Marietta High before that.
Since she has already worked with most of the students in her previous positions, Taylor said she’s not nervous at all for the first day ― just excited.
“This transition has been very comfortable,” Taylor said. “I’m not nervous in the least, I’m just ready for it to begin already. Let’s get the kids in here.”
Taylor said she’s honored by the opportunity to be principal at Marietta High, and said she will help students learn and grow.
“I have what it takes to be the next leader that will take Marietta to the next level of excellence,” she said.
All summer long, Taylor said she’s been asked whether the Marietta High seniors will continue a tradition of covering the school in toilet paper, which last year’s seniors did on the first day of school.
“The senior prank of rolling the high school is one that has been known as a tradition ― not on any particular day,” Taylor said. “As principal, I cannot support it one way or the other and have chosen to stay out of it.”
Taylor said she knows the Class of 2016 is excited about the tradition, but said she has no idea “when it will take place, if it will take place or how it will take place.”
If the seniors go through with the tradition, Taylor said they will be responsible for cleaning up whatever mess they make and emphasized they could face disciplinary consequences.
Pinto teaches ninth-grade algebra and Advanced Placement calculus for juniors and seniors at Marietta High, and said she’s looking forward to the first day.
“I’m just excited to meet my new students,” she said. “I’m excited to start a new school year and a new journey with them. And I’m just ready to teach them math tomorrow ― I’m ready to get started.”
Pinto said she became a teacher because she was good at math, and good at explaining math.
“Then, I stayed a teacher because I found out it’s a lot more than that,” she said. “It’s more about building the relationships with the kids and having them fall in love with math.”
Pinto said as the year gets started, she plans to do some goal-setting activities with her students, to make sure everyone knows the expectations and can work together as a team.
“I have my lessons planned, I have my pacing guide set, but right now I am busily hanging up posters on my walls,” Pinto said Tuesday, adding she was trying to make her classroom as inviting as possible for the first day of school.
Pinto said students coming in for the first day should be excited, energetic, ready to learn, and “ready to start the year off right.”
One big thing coming to Marietta High this year is the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center, which Taylor said aims to help students be more successful in school by helping them with personal issues.
“Most of our students who are struggling — not just at Marietta High School but at all high schools — they are experiencing life,” she said. “They have real issues such as substance abuse or abuse at home, sexual abuse, homelessness, or physical or domestic abuse. They’re dealing with mental health issues, which are real issues for some of our students.”
Taylor said student success relies on more than simply academic performance.
“The Graduate Marietta Center is going to provide an opportunity to address the whole needs of our students in a comprehensive manner,” she said. “I really do think that we’re going to be able to chip away at some of those barriers that exist for kids ― real life barriers ― and I do think it will impact our graduation rate in a very positive and real way.”