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Partners in Excellence holds annual meeting

Dr. Joshua Murfree said that when it comes to education, “one size doesn’t fit all,” and that his major concern is that when graduating students walk off the stage, they have “somewhere to go.”

Dr. Joshua Murfree said that when it comes to education, “one size doesn’t fit all,” and that his major concern is that when graduating students walk off the stage, they have “somewhere to go.”

ALBANY — Dr. Joshua Murfree, superintendent of Dougherty’s public school system, moved from table to table Wednesday morning as he delivered a message of optimism at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s Rise ’N’ Shine breakfast.

The morning meeting at the Albany Hilton Garden Inn honored the Partners in Excellence who assist local schools.

Murfree also talked about communication and common goals, sometimes quoting philosophers or the widely known efficiency guru, Stephen Covey.

“People talk about being on the same page,” Murfree said. “I suggest to you that we all be on the same page in the same book and on the same paragraph.”

Murfree stressed that today we all live in a “global society,” and that in order to thrive we must prepare our children for that society.

“We’re are no longer bound by community or state or even country,” Murfree said. “Not only can we communicate by voice anywhere on earth, we can create documents using printers on the other end. It will not be just English we use in this society, but French, German, Japanese and other languages as well. I say, let’s go beyond expectations.”

Murfree acknowledged that not every elementary or high school student is college bound. Many students, he said, will benefit from programs with a technical emphasis.

“Some students may want to be plumbers, Murfree said, “or work in another sort of trade. One size doesn’t fit all. We work closely with Career Academy and other programs to assure that when our students graduate and walk off that stage, they have somewhere to go.”

Murfree thanked the Partners in attendance for the help they have given over the past year, and announced that the number of members in the Partners in Excellence program has grown by 42 percent since 2009 to a total of more than 240 partners.

In speaking of the CRCT exams, Murfree stated that third grade scores had risen by 23 percent with fifth grade scores up by 14 percent in the same period. According to Murfree, 94 percent of 2010 eleventh graders passed the Georgia high school graduation exam on the first try.

Throughout his talk, Murfree stressed the importance of working together toward a “common goal” of improving education in Dougherty County.

“Families, parents, communities and businesses, must come together and say ‘we are of one accord,’ ” Murfree said. “ ‘We are one.’ ”

According to program sources, Partners in Excellence was established in 1986 as a joint effort of Dougherty County School System and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. It endeavors to match business or communities groups with specific schools for the purpose increasing the quality of education.