City News

‘New climate and culture' at Hemby Bridge school

Casey Ball attended Hemby Bridge Elementary School in fourth and fifth grade. Now when he walks through the doors, he heads to the main office instead of a classroom. He's the school's new principal, formerly an assistant principal at Wingate Elementary. Theresa Benson joins him as assistant principal at Hemby Bridge, transferring from Sun Valley High.

The new Stallings Elementary School opening meant many Hemby Bridge students and staff were reassigned or transferred. About 1,060 students enrolled last year; this year about 530 are expected. Fewer students and staff mean less crowding and no trailers.

Ball said he looks to “establish a new climate and culture.”

He praises the PTO for “a lot of great support.”

The school will start the year with a new logo for its Bulldog mascot, which looks “friendlier,” Ball said. The PTO has ordered new spirit wear with the new logo.

Seemingly relaxed and organized, Ball said he has to have a file for everything. He showed his organized file cabinet and noted the stacks of papers on his desk.

“Our goal is to not just teach the core subjects,” he says, “but to teach them (the students) to be problem solvers. That's what the business world needs. They need deep thinkers. They need problem solvers.”

He also looks to provide a safe environment. “It should be a wonderful year,” he says.

Distance learning

School board member Richard Weiner talked about a new distance learning class to teach Chinese. Taught by a Marvin Ridge High teacher, it's shown on TV monitors in classrooms at Porter Ridge and Parkwood high schools. The live program allows two-way communication between teacher and the satellite schools.

Porter Ridge Principal Sam Basden said students will work with computers and view lessons on large TV screens. Class size is limited; Porter Ridge has eight students enrolled for Chinese this year. “This is a start in the process of finding additional ways to deliver education to the students in Union County,” Weiner said.