On Thursday, Feb. 16, Mrs. Dianne Daniels, assistant superintendent of Dougherty County schools; a group of local pastors and ministers, and I went on a bus ride to all four Dougherty County high schools. We spent the whole day visiting these schools.
I was appalled at what I saw in each of these schools. Our children and grandchildren have everything they need to be the best they can be when they graduate. There are many programs in each school that will make our children successful upon graduation. Each school offers a different curriculum to help prepare our children to get right into the work force when they graduate.
For example, Albany High has a state-of-the-art media program. It is definitely a Center of Excellence, Honors, Law and Muti-Media. The students are being taught everything they need to know on how to work in the media, etc.
Westover High has a medical arts program that is off the chain. Students who are interested in nursing, becoming a medical doctor, CNA, etc., then Westover High is the place for your child to be.
At Monroe High, we saw students being prepared for pre-engineering, mathematics and technology. We were told during our tour at Monroe, that no other school in south Georgia has the equipment to train the students that Monroe has including vocational technical schools.
I was very surprised at what I saw but was thoroughly impressed. I also was thoroughly impressed at what I saw at Dougherty High School, now the International Baccalaureate School of Excellence. Dougherty High has a curriculum for highly motivated students who desire to achieve academic excellence through inquiry-based learning. When we arrived at Dougherty High, four students met us, two of them speaking to us in French and two in Spanish. Having majored in French while in college, I was asked to interpret for the group.
I was truly surprised at how well they spoke both languages. It has been my experience that most students when taking a foreign language learn civilization, history and culture, but not to actually speak the language. I was so impressed. Dougherty High has it going on.
Some other things I noticed was how quiet it was in all the schools, even when they were changing classes. I did not see one person in any class being disciplined for misbehaving in the hall or in class in any of the schools. The students were engaged, doing their work without provocation from any teacher.
You may say, why is he writing this letter? I am writing it for a number of reasons.
One is to encourage you to go see for yourselves what is going on in our schools. Do not just take my word or anyone else's for that matter, go see for yourselves. Then you will know first-hand.
I am also writing it because we hear so much negative about our School Board, our superintendent, teachers, faculty, staff, parents and students. I know and believe that our School Board, superintendent and teachers for the most part are doing the best they can to educate our children. I am sure there is room for improvement in our schools, but I did not see it Thursday.
Our School Board, superintendent and teachers need your help. Go see for yourselves. Volunteer.
Dr. Henry M. Brown is pastor of House of Prayer by Faith Church God's Hospital. A graduate of Albany State University and Fort Valley State University, he has a doctorate in theology from North Carolina College of Theology. He worked as a psychologist for Albany Area Mental Health Center and is a retired teacher with Turner Job Corps Center, where he taught social studies, language arts, reading and writing. He and his wife, Earlene, have three children and 12 grandchildren.