Unique school start awaits North Vermilion students

North Vermilion High and North Vermilion Middle students may win back-to-school bragging rights for the most unique entrée to the new school year.

The students will take turns sharing the high school building in three-day, revolving schedules for the first few weeks of school to allow extra time needed to prepare the new North Vermilion Middle School for a Sept. 8 opening date.

The schedule involves students attending on a Saturday.

“We’ll be on a platoon schedule and alternate our days,” explained North Vermilion Middle Principal Joan Romero. “We’ll each go three days a week for the first few weeks of school.”

School starts for Vermilion Parish students on Aug. 11. On that day, North Vermilion Middle students kick off the three-day scheduling arrangement, attending classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That week, North Vermilion High students will attend Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The schedule flips the following week. The week of Aug. 25, students won’t attend class on Saturday because of the Labor Day weekend. By the week of Sept. 8, students should resume normal, five-day-a-week scheduling with North Vermilion Middle School students seated in new classrooms.

School officials scheduled a meeting with parents to address any questions.

“We want to make sure that parents understand that the most important issue here is education and making the most of our instructional time,” Romero said.

Students will attend class for five additional minutes during the three-day schedule sessions. Romero said the district built in enough instructional minutes in the calendar year that North Vermilion students won’t need to make up any additional instructional time during the transition to the new school.

The option of waiting until construction was complete to start school meant students would have lost instructional time with a late start to school, Romero said.

“If we waited, that would have been a month,” she said. “We need to get students ready and get the most out of our instructional time.”

Weather delays, a change in the plans to move all modular buildings at the site and other work such as the construction of a fence and rebuilding of a transformer pad pushed the completion date back, said Vermilion Parish Schools Superintendent Jerome Puyau.

North Vermilion High School previously enrolled students in seventh through 12th grades. The new middle school is adjacent to the high school campus and will enroll students in sixth through eighth grades. In addition to those middle school students zoned to attend North Vermilion High, the new middle school also will enroll sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from Indian Bayou Elementary and sixth-graders from Cecil Picard and Meaux Elementary schools.

Projected enrollment at North Vermilion Middle is more than 500 students, Romero said.

The new middle school campus includes four buildings: an administration building, a wing for seventh and eighth grades, a sixth-grade wing and a gymnasium.

The middle school will share a band room and cafeteria with the high school.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.