Two years ago North Natchitoches Elementary School, 275 miles northwest of New Orleans, started a uniform policy of red, white or blue polo shirts and navy or khaki bottoms for its 600-plus student body.
When 103 new students, evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, started at the school recently, they were each given one uniform from the uniform room. Generally, the top and bottom, purchased from area stores, like Wal-Mart, run about $24, according to Principal Theresa Hamilton.
"What we do at our school, because we are in a poverty area, is we have a supply that we keep on hand," Hamilton said.
Empire Elementary School, which was the recipient of The Plan for Social Excellence Technology grant, also given to North Natchitoches, recently raised $750 for the school by collecting change.
"We were very very happy about the (amount raised)," said Empire Technology Coordinator LeAnn Morris.
The new students at North Natchitoches have already received second and third sets of uniforms from other monies, but there's other things needed by these new students.
"They want backpacks," Hamilton said. "A lot of them when they got uniforms, weren't given backpacks. They need belts and tennis shoes, underwear and, mostly, backpacks."
She said the money received by Empire will be used to buy any items the new students need, students who have caused adjustment in the class sizes at the school.
"It's almost like starting school all over," she said. "We had pretty much been in school two or three weeks and we thought this might happen, so we had been planning all along.
"The other students are very supportive. We've been talking to kids about empathy and being responsible and those kinds of thing. They have been real receptive."
Constitution Day celebrated throughout public schools
Last Monday was the first publicly mandated Constitution Day held in Nevada public schools. The federal law, signed in December 2004, requires all schools receiving federal money to teach students the importance of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
At Carson High School, Karen Simms, head of the social studies department, passed out folders of Constitution-related materials for teachers to discuss with students the second block period of the day.
"In the packet, they had a choice of activities to do," she said. "They were able to unscramble the Preamble - they were given 12 phrases found in the Preamble and asked to put them in order - they could've held a discussion of the Bill of Rights and what it means to them."
Teachers of other curriculums - math, science, culinary arts - discussed the Constitution with their students during the period. Simms said she received several e-mails from teachers who were grateful for the folders and the fun and easy activities inside.
Students in the Carson City school District begin learning about the foundation of the United States as early as kindergarten when teachers discuss federal holidays and the purpose behind them - for example, Presidents Day.
"(Learning about the foundation of the government) is really actually carried out throughout elementary school," Simms said. "Then, in eighth grade they have United States history. In 10th grade, we do a Revolutionary War unit when we tie in the American Revolution with the English and French revolutions."
In 11th grade, students take U.S. history and learn about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In 12th grade, they take American government which focuses on the principles behind the government, including the three branches, as well as state and local governments.
"I think Constitution Day is a great event because it gets everybody talking about what our Constitution means to our country and what it means to us as individuals," Simms said. "And having it across the curriculum just fortifies the importance of the Constitution."
Dayton Intermediate School reaches hurricane relief goal
Students at Dayton Intermediate School counted their change and dollars Friday from a two-week collection and surpassed their $2,000 goal by $87. The money will be given to the American Red Cross.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.