Mt Laurel Elementary sees successful start to new school year

Published 3:05 pm Monday, August 15, 2022


NORTH SHELBY – By 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, students and faculty members at Mt Laurel Elementary School were celebrating the end of a successful first day of school.

“The first day was fantastic,” MLES principal Celita Carmichael said. “This is my 20th year, but every year I get more and more excited.”

Shelby County Schools once again held a staggered start for students, with half of the students returning to their school campuses on Aug. 11 and the other half returning on Friday, Aug. 12.

Carmichael said the staggered start eases students back into a routine and gives teachers and administrators a chance to focus on each student more than they normally would during the first day of school.

“We can take time getting to know those students one-on-one, and it’s not stressful for them,” Carmichael said. “We all can visit, meet, greet and then all come together on Monday. It really helps with the piece that we like to do here, which is building relationships.”

Second-grade student Ella Kate Dixon said she enjoyed working on an activity involving Skittles and getting to know her classmates.

Dixon also said she was excited about learning new things this year and “having a wonderful time with my new friends and at school.”

Fifth-grade student Major Jordan said his favorite part of the day was lunch, and he enjoys learning.

Jordan said his favorite subject in school is science, and when asked about his career goals, he said, “If I don’t make it to the NFL, I want to be a brain surgeon.”

Jordan and Dixon are two of nearly 500 students at MLES this year, and that number could increase by September, Carmichael said.

“We’re really focused on not just achievement, but growth as well,” Carmichael said. “As we parallel those two, we just hope to continue to see additional student growth while still maintaining our high achievement at the same time.”

Last year, MLES was among five Alabama schools recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools, a prestigious award that recognizes the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

“We’re going to go try again in the next year or so for another National Blue Ribbon,” Carmichael said. “We know we have the relationships and the emotional culture here, which is huge because we’re like a family. It’s all about the kids at the end of the day, but we take care of each other, too.”