Carroll County Middle School, formerly Carroll County Intermediate School, is undergoing more than just a name change this school year. No longer will the school educate eighth and ninth graders, instead sixth, seventh and eighth graders now form the student body. In fact, very few people who roamed the halls at the school last year will be there this year.
“Every student we have will be new to the campus and two thirds of the faculty will be new. There are always a few changes, but this year is different, “said CCMS Principal Marc Quesenberry. “It’s a needed transition for the county and the students. We think it’s a great move for everyone, and we are very excited about the opportunity we have here.”
While the transition may be more of a challenge for the students and some of the faculty, Quesenberry is the man suited for just this job. Prior to coming to the middle school two years ago, he spent two years as the principal of the sixth and seventh graders at Woodlawn School and prior to that he spent four years as a principal at a middle school in Georgia.
“I had a very similar situation in Georgia and gained a lot of experience during my time there,” he said. “Woodlawn was also a good experience because I got to work with teachers who are going to be here this year, as well as Assistant Principal (Dana) Burnette, who was at Woodlawn last year. Between the two of us, we’ve worked with most every faculty member and two thirds of the students.”
Although Quesenberry said there are advantages and disadvantages involved in the transition, he thinks there are many more positives.
“I think one of the big advantages is the opportunity for Carroll County students to start coming together as Cavaliers sooner. In the past, it was the eighth grade before students began coming together, but now they will have the opportunity to grow together sooner.”
“Another big thing is, I think all adults recognize what a tough age it is being 11, 12, 13 year olds. It was a tough age for all of us, but we’ve been through it, so we can help them grow together and learn together.”
The renovations, including a new wing, that have taken place at the school this past year will be put to use this year when the study body swells from 600 to approximately 850-900. The new wing will house primarily the sixth graders, but older students will be in the wing periodically because of two new computer labs.
“All of our students will cross paths at some point, but generally speaking they will be separated between grade levels,” said Quesenberry. “Most of the seventh graders will be on the second floor and most of the eighth graders will be on the main floor of the original building.”
Another big change will be the parent drop-off and pick-up procedure, which is being moved from the front of the school to the rear behind the gymnasium.
“We are changing our parent drop-off and pick-up situation. It has been done on Main Street in the past, but we feel we have a better setup, a much safer setup,” said Quesenberry. “The route runs down Quesinberry Street and leads parents around the back of the building and right up to the gym entrance. We hope everyone sees the benefit of this change and takes advantage of the new route.”
One of the most important changes will be the school’s security system. A monitor in the front office allows personnel to monitor both the front and back of the building. In addition, any visitor will have to be buzzed in by school personnel.
“It’s not something we want to do, but, unfortunately, it is something that is needed. The safety of our children is of the utmost importance,” said Quesenberry, who added that despite all the changes, some things never change. “We have a great faculty and staff, and the children’s best interest is still our top priority.”
Quesenberry hopes parents and guardians will take advantage of the school’s open house on Aug. 8. Because of limited parking, the open house will be broken up into three time periods – sixth graders and parents, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; seventh graders and parents, 2-4 p.m.; and eighth graders and parents, 5-7 p.m.
“During the open house, we will have brief informational meetings, share our expectations and answer any questions parents might have,” said Quesenberry. “We’re very excited about the opportunity we have this year and look forward to a great school year.”