Berry Elementary to celebrate 30 year | Local New


It’s been 30 years since Berry Elementary opened its doors as a laboratory school on the campus of Berry College.

A group of teachers and parents with connections to those years are planning an anniversary celebration for the school.

Click here for their Web site.

“The school started with open classrooms, which was very cutting edge in the ’70s, but the school has always been about what’s the best educational practices,” said Monica Nichols, a teacher at the school.

Susan Atkinson, a new parent and wife of director Paul Atkinson, said she is really excited about celebrating and compiling the history of the school, including the teachers, student workers and students involved in the constantly evolving school.

“This is a story that has to be told,” said Atkinson, “and every time I talk to someone associated with the school, they remember and are excited. The 30th year is an opportunity to get everybody together to tell their story — we have had so many interesting and accomplished people come through here.”

The coordinators are is looking for people involved for 1977-1987 since a list of students and staff is not available for that time period. Then, the school was called Berry Early Learning Center. In 1987, the name changed to Berry College Laboratory School to reflect its nature in teaching education majors on campus the best classroom practices.

In 1994 it became Berry College Elementary and Middle School, as it is still known today.

DeAnn Simon loved her experiences enough to bring her children there.

“When I first came back (to Rome), I didn’t know where my son was going to school. I was completely overwhelmed,” said Simon, who attended Berry in kindergarten. “They’re not just sitting in a desk, and I loved it. It’s not the same building, but it’s similar to what I experienced.”

Simon is helping coordinate the year-long series of events, kicking off with an open house reunion August 11 from 3 until 5 p.m. at the Berry Elementary Mountain campus.

The group is looking for memories, photos, stories or items to add to a timeline of the school’s history.

It also wants contact information for anyone attending the school. Call 706-236-2242 and leave a message or visit or Web site at to find a link to check out the bulletin board.