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School visits are an eye-opener

Henry Brown

Henry Brown

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.

Comments

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 10 months ago

Dr. Brown Thank You for your Letter. I am glad to see someone speaking up for the Good in our schools, there is much to be Thankful for. Sadly you were forced to include “for the most part” when describing “School Board, superintendent and teachers” doing their best. DCSS students deserve the VERY BEST but sadly Albany has settled for mediocre representation on the School Board and Superintendent coupled with a few poor teachers. Hopefully more leaders in Albany such as yourself will get involved and aspire to improve the quality of the education support system available to our youth and their teachers. Too often Albany is settling for what we can slide by with. Our Youth are our Future and they should not be handicapped by Albany’s failure to strive for Excellence. Quality In Quality OUT

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 10 months ago

"I was appalled at what I saw in each of these schools. The definition of "appalled" is: filled with consternation or dismay. Did I miss something in the letter?

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philcody 2 years, 10 months ago

I thought the same thing when I read it. I think Dr. Brown meant "surprised" rather than "appalled."

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AlbanyIsTooDarkDuringTheDay 2 years, 10 months ago

Exactly what I thought when I read that statement. Appalled...really?

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whattheheck 2 years, 9 months ago

A word that should not have been used in this case.

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mcurrie 2 years, 10 months ago

Sister, you didn't miss a thing!

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LuLu 2 years, 10 months ago

No doubt that the administrators and students were well aware ahead of time that this group of visitors was coming, and well-prepared for it. His story makes it sound all puppies and rainbows, but I want to hear what was so appalling! Remember the Squawk of the Day just a few days ago? A school employee at Monroe, I believe it was, painted QUITE a different picture, and I'll believe him/her any day over this visitor, who was no doubt asked to write this in order to get some good "neutral" PR out there for the school system. Also, the way he describes it, each of the high schools focuses on different things altogether -- one media, one medical, one math/engineering. So does that mean that a student living in say, the Albany High district, is just SOL if he's interested in the medical field? Why do each of the schools offer different things if the students don't have the choice of where they want to go? And shouldn't our high schools focus on high-school curriculum and leave the specialty stuff for college and tech school?

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billybob 2 years, 10 months ago

Why do we have ministers touring the high schools? And why is this particular minister describing programs at the schools as "off the chain" and "got it going on"? There is part of your problem. The schools are crap because a majority of the community doesn't give a crap as evidenced by the community electing people like Junebug and Velvet. It seems the good reverend got the North Korea-style dignitary visit to the schools.

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AlbanyIsTooDarkDuringTheDay 2 years, 10 months ago

Your logic is another example of how the education system in Albany is failing. I am, however, assuming you went to school in the Albany area.

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billybob 2 years, 10 months ago

Enlighten me. Please explain the flaws in my logic.

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AlbanyIsTooDarkDuringTheDay 2 years, 9 months ago

You're worried that the minister used "hip" terms that are somewhat relevant amongst today's youth. What matters isn't that he used those phrases, it's that he is, among other area leaders, trying to help.

I can appreciate ministers, or anyone else in the community who can have a positive impact, touring the schools to give feedback. Pessimism will keep Albany's problems growing instead of diminishing.

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waltspecht 2 years, 10 months ago

To be fair, an unannounced visit to the lunchroom at about the second serving will open your eyes Preacher. I know it did mine when I had the opportunity. Plus, it isn't any better in Terrell or Randolph-Clay. It is Christian to focus on the good in everything, but reality is painting a true picture of what is happening.

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proudAPteacher 2 years, 10 months ago

Students in high school are given the opportunity to attend whichever high school aligns with their future goals. However, their are certain requirements or pre-requistes for each program. There are also standards that students must maintain in order to remain in each program. I will not sugar coat high school students and say that everyone is following the rules, reporting on time, or behaving like angels. However, the MAJORITY of students are doing all of those things. When you have 1200 kids in one location, yes a few will buck the system. Ironically enough, when parents come in for conferences they usually tell us that the kid acts like that at home too. How can teachers get the students to "act right" when their own parents can't? When you have 1200 kids divided up into 3 lunch periods, it will be loud. This is high school, not church. They are students not prisoners who should eat in silence! If you are appalled by the DCSS, why don't you volunteer to make it better? Donate your time and come speak to a class about what you do for a living. Come and ask educators what you can do to help them. Oh wait, it is easier to complain and moan.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 10 months ago

Proud Teach you are correct the MAJORITY of our students want to learn and the Majority of the Teachers are there to teach and promote learning. It is the Community that is failing the students by settling for such low standards for the Board and upper management.

There are many opportunities for the Community(including the complainers and whiners) to get involved. Check with the Boys & Girls Club and even some Churches offer after school programs and they can always use a helping hand. Or like Proud says sit on you’re A and you will see a return on the effort (or lack thereof) that you put into improving DCSS.

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boyoboy 2 years, 10 months ago

What a joke! The story was appalling..

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whattheheck 2 years, 9 months ago

I have been part of announced and unannounced tours on many occasions both as a participant and as one preparing the "window dressing". I can assure you that when people know you are coming, they are on their best behavior. and what was seen was not representative of conditions in the locations visited.

Reminds me of the Billy Sol Estes case years ago when government inspectors visited grain elevators in Kansas to inspect crop storage. The inspectors were flown in and landed near each elevator. All seemed in good order until it was later learned that the inspectors had looked at the same facility over and over. Since grain elevators look alike, those staging the tour merely changed building numbers on the facility each time the airplane flew off and when it again landed at the same facility, things looked just great.

Take an unannounced, objective tour--don't get Billy Sol-ed, if you really want the truth.

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proudAPteacher 2 years, 9 months ago

Walt, you are right. I was one of the teachers shown on the tour and I did prepare for the visit. You know what I did...I dusted my room. Everything else was business as usual. I am sure the ministers were impresses because my students are IMPRESSIVE!!! My students are tenth graders working on a collegiate level. ESP kids (on average) read on an 3rd grade level because many of them have profound disabilities! We have autistic students, blind students, deaf students...Some of them can not even communicate. But with no child left behind, public schools are expected to prepare them for college. The entire education system (not just DCSS) is being held hostage by the federal government. There are many changes educators and administrators would like to implement, but can not because of NCLB.

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