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Savannah school resumes classes Monday, part of district's turnaround initiative

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Otis J. Brock Elementary School will start classes on Monday. (Credit: Shelbey Roberts)

Mid-July means the Savannah summer is still in its prime. For students at Otis J. Brock Elementary School, it means the end of summer.

"They are able to continue reading, doing math and that way they don't forget what we did all of the previous school year and then have to start over at the beginning of the next school year," said principal, Selina Ruth-Gillans.

Unlike the rest of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools who start back August 3rd, Brock will have an "extended learning" school year. That means classes will run from this July until next June.

The decision comes as part of the district's initiative to improve Brock and the district's 11 other chronically failing schools identified by the state.

"We plan to exceed the state's expectation of 3 percent gain. My personal milestone is 10 percent," said Ruth-Gillans.

She says she plans to reach that goal by focusing on remediation for low performing students, intervention for students on the cusp, and enrichment for students who have mastered their concepts.

Students like nine-year-old Don'yae Erwin won't go back to school for another few weeks. She says she's happy to get the extra vacation days.

"Good. It's really good. But, bad for the Otis J. Brock," Erwin said.

The overall community reaction to the early start has been positive.

Travis Ruth, a fourth grader grader at Brock said, "I'm just happy because I get to have new friends, have new teachers, and have new classes."

"I feel good about school starting Monday because I get to wear new shoes," said Amari Cook, another Brock fourth grader.

Kaleah Hills, a second grader at Brock, says she has her hopes set high this school year.

"I'm feeling great but I have to get this. I have to get this so I can have high honor roll again," Harris said.

Brock Elementary School will be hosting a school supply giveaway for Brock students on Saturday.

On Sunday, they will host an open house. For more information visit the school's website.