New school term begins Thursday morning

On the eve of the opening of the 2016-2017 school term, Grady County School System officials report that 4,668 students are currently enrolled, which is up from 4,645 on July 19 and 4,627 on the last day of school for the 2015-2016 term.
However, Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard predicts that number will drop to around 4,650 once school gets underway.
“We are looking forward to the opening of school. We have lots of new faces on the faculties of our schools and it’s an exciting time for both our teachers and students. I wish each and every one a very productive and successful year,” Dr. Gilliard said.
New drop off and pickup procedures are being implemented at both Southside and Whigham schools. See Page B5 for more information about the new Whigham plan.
“We ask that everyone be mindful of the students and use caution near the schools. Southside and Whigham will have new traffic patterns. We ask that parents at those schools familiarize themselves with the new pickup procedures. It usually takes 7-10 days for everyone to get back into the routine of picking up the students smoothly. Patience and understanding will be critical to smooth pickups at each of the seven schools,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The Cairo Police Department and the Whigham Police Department have met with the Southside and Whigham administrators to assist with the changes, according to the superintendent.
“I thank (Cairo Police) Chief (Keith) Sandefur and (Whigham Police) Chief (Tony) Black for their support and willingness to assist with these changes. Planning ahead will make for a smooth transition,” Gilliard said.
“The faculty and staff at each school have been busy the past several weeks preparing for Thursday’s opening; it is almost impossible to prepare the school or classrooms for the first day. I appreciate all of the staff for their hard work. We are anticipating a great school year and look forward to seeing our students return on Thursday,” Dr. Gilliard said. 

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