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PSC Suspends Monroe Principal Valerie Thomas for 90 Days in CRCT fallout

ALBANY, Ga. — The Georgia Professional Standards Commission has suspended Monroe High School Principal Valerie Thomas for 90 days without pay in the wake of the Dougherty County School System's 2009 Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) cheating scandal.

The PSC ruling, issued Feb. 22, determined Thomas, who was principal at Lamar Reese Magnet School at the time of the cheating, had failed to adequately supervise testing activity.

The PSC also revoked the certification for two years of former Jackson Heights Elementary teacher Rita Akiyode and issued a reprimand to former Sherwood Acres Elementary teacher Marguerite Williams. Neither teacher is currently employed by the DCSS.

The PSC Orders were received late Monday by Dougherty County Interim School Superintendent Butch Mosely.

According to the PSC's finding of fact, as principal at Lamar Reese during the 2009 CRCTs, Thomas "had ultimate responsibility for testing activities within the elementary school in question including supervising all testing activities to ensure strict test security. Statistical analysis confirmed that cheating took place at the school in question. (Thomas) failed to supervise testing activities."

The PSC order pointed out that according to Georgia Department of Education testing regulations, testing materials must be stored in a secure place accessible only to the principal and testing coordinator. The PSC said there were five keys to the reading nook where the 2009 CRCT materials were stored.

The PSC ordered that Thomas be suspended for 90 consecutive contract days. The period of suspension begins on March 22 and continues through Oct. 10.

Mosely said he has yet to make a decision on who will serve as interim principal at Monroe during Thomas' suspension.

In August 2011, the state launched a massive probe into CRCT cheating allegations throughout the DCSS's 16 elementary schools.

The probe lasted four months and resulted in a two-volume, 294-page report which accused 49 teachers and administrators of either outright cheating or failure to supervise.

After the state's report was released, 17 teachers or administrators resigned, retired or left the system. The remaining 32 were suspended until administrative tribunals could be conducted. Eight people were later cleared, and 24 tribunals were held. Some of the teachers accepted suspensions, two were fired and others were recommended to return to work by the three-member panels.

After the tribunal phase, DCSS attorney Tommy Coleman was required by law to turn over all 49 case files to the PSC for final disposition.

Comments

straightface 1 year, 1 month ago

New Year, New Staff.. Same ole..same ole

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Amazed2 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh well at least somebody cares

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J.D._Sumner 1 year, 1 month ago

Paperwork from PSC suggests "without."

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sowegap 1 year, 1 month ago

See paragraph one, which states "without pay" and that is gonna hurt a lot. Wonder will she get her old job back when she returns?

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jglass 1 year, 1 month ago

It should be without pay. Why give her a 3 month vacation?

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

First paragraph say "without pay". But that's before the lawsuit kicks in. Somebody got away with bloody murder up in here but ....... well you know what happened.

"Statistical analysis confirmed that cheating took place at the school in question." YATHINK?????

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VSU 1 year, 1 month ago

If you are to suspend someone with pay, might as well let them stay and work. At least earn the pay.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 1 month ago

Excellent! Now DCSS, here is your cue. Contract expirations are coming up. CUT HER LOOSE.

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Bubbavet_rureel 1 year, 1 month ago

Enjoy the honeymoon! we'll be back.

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MRKIA 1 year, 1 month ago

SO STUPID AND MORONIC. THEY'LL BE GONE SOON.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Thomas was either a hands-on party to the cheating or enabled those who did it. There was no such thing as "failure to supervise testing activities". What it really means is that she actually "supervised the cheating activities". That's what really happened and there's a lot of church-going colleagues who know it's true but are lying by their silence and complicity.

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TRUTH101 1 year, 1 month ago

Sooooo Monroe is without a principal or assistant principal........YIKES

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chinaberry25 1 year, 1 month ago

No loss on either. The kids are running rampant anyway over there.

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Support 1 year, 1 month ago

After the state's report was released, 17 teachers or administrators resigned, retired or left the system.

Not true. Check your fact.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 1 month ago

According to the data I have, this is correct. If you have different documentation, I would like to see it. Call me at 434-8795, please.
And bring your files. Let's see if our numbers match up.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 1 month ago

Inquiring minds want to know.

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waltspecht 1 year, 1 month ago

Funny, the high paid tribunal members found insufficient evidance, yet the PSC apparently has found more than probable cause. Shows who is covering whose tail doesn't it?

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bigbob 1 year, 1 month ago

It just shows how corrupt these people are that run this county & school system. And these fools really thing they can get big bussiness with all this corruption, sad thing is people keep voting for these same people.

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RedEric 1 year, 1 month ago

I do not understand the purpose of tribunals. If you have facts that prove the guilt of an individual beyond the shadow of doubt then what do tribunals do? It does not speak well for a system to allow "feelings" to supplant facts. If a person is guilty of a crime and is allowed to escape punishment then a criminal society slowly develops. People see others "getting away" with a crime then they see a lower risk to crime. Oh, wait a minute we already have that, what the heck was I thinking!

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

"Statistical analysis "....what a joke!

Let see now, there were no teachers from her school who were reprimanded or found guilty of cheating. During the PSC's investigation they only found that testing materials were not stored in a secure place accessible only to the principal and testing coordinator. So the reason she has been suspended is because there were five keys to the reading nook where the 2009 CRCT materials were stored instead of two keys.

In the DCSS, Every custodian, secretary, and administrator have master keys to every door in the building. Not only that, almost all plant operations persons in DCSS have a master key to enter almost every door in the DCSS. It is highly improbable that there is one secure place in a school where only 2 people have keys. They should check all the schools; secured test storage rooms. You will find that more than 2 keys have been issued for those locks..

As far as the failure to supervise test... even if this was the case, how can one person supervise testing in 12-15 classrooms at one time? Unrealistic! Thomas did not enable cheaters. There were none at her school.

The issue here was that 5 people had access to the place where the test were stored, which in this case (according to PSC) was a breech of security. .

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Thirty billion to one odds that cheating did not occur. Yes that's really funny, AuntieDee! The kids will laugh the rest of their natural lives!

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm not saying that it didnot. I'm just saying this was not the reason for her suspension. This was a security issue as it is in most schools.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 1 month ago

I did find it interesting that no teachers at Lamar Reese were accused of cheating in the report. Thomas' sole violation was lack of security for testing materials.

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sm1716 1 year, 1 month ago

The reason none was found cheating is because the teachers at Lamar Reese didn't erase students answers. They simply filled in the test ahead of time for the students that they considered would not pass the CRCT. Try asking some of the teachers and students what happened.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 1 month ago

I have heard that. But the teachers aren't talking about it with the media.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

And just how would you know that?

How could they when they do not have access to the test book?. They only have access to the bubble sheet.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Unless the teachers erased and then corrected those erasures with wrong to right answers, there would have been NO WAY the testing analysis could have revealed statistical evidence of cheating.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

Children erase wrong to right answers all the time. Who has proof that teachers erased? You can't tell one erasure from another.

Teachers have a certain amount of time to administer the test and then you are timed getting the test to the office. Teachers do not have time to go back over tests to find wrong anwers and correct them. It would take entirely too much time to even do that for one student.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

I was commenting on the stupid idea that teachers filled out the tests for certain kids before they handed out the test and then those tests got flagged as statistically indicative of cheating (erasing wrong answers changing to right answers).

And kids erase answers all the time......but not at 30 Billion to ! odds....EVER! It would be like if you bought a lottery ticket every week and won the top jackpot every week for the rest of your life.....even that would not be as good a probability as that there was cheating in the tests in dozens of DoCo classrooms.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 1 month ago

Maybe the security issue was the only one they could get her on without a shadow of a doubt. Better that than nothing at all. It will go on her permanent record. Does not bode will. The other is much harder to prove.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

Read the report. A shadow of a doubt doesn't stand up in a court of law. I believe she will win her case and keep her job.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 1 month ago

But she'll have to sue the state and not the DCSS.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes, the state department of education (PSC) will be the target for her suit. That is who I woukd target.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Somewhere down the line a judge or lawyer will call in a math expert who can make the issue understandable and the case will be closed.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 1 month ago

If there is going to be a lawsuit, you may as well go ahead and fire her. That way you will be rid of her for good. She may lose both, the suit and her job too. I would be too scared to sue. She would then be damaged goods and next to impossible to get another teaching job anywhere.

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erock 1 year, 1 month ago

This woman is not trustworthy. With this kind of leadership in the DCSS, getting an education outside of magnet schools or private schools is nearly impossible in Dougherty county

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chinaberry25 1 year, 1 month ago

I disagree, there are many great A/P classes as well as teachers who teach them. WHS has great students as well as most other schools. DHS graduated a student several years ago who made almost perfect on SAT test. The education is there if you want it. The principal sets the tone of the school. They have last say on what teachers they hire too.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

This is an excerpt from Governor Deal’s Report which I have a copy of…

We conclude that there is no evidence that Principal Valerie Thomas knew of the cheating. However, as set forth in the Georgia Department of Education Student Assessment Handbook for 2008-2009, which governs all standardized tests administered in the State of Georgia, the principal Has ultimate responsibility for testing activities in the local school.”*

Therefore, we conclude that Valerie Thomas failed in her ultimate responsibility for supervising testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 2009 CRCT.

She was ultimately responsible because she was the principal. Not because she did anything wrong. Get the facts before you start blogging and babbling about issues you know nothing about!

Now I wonder how you guys know more about what happened than what the Governor's investigators.reported.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Did Thomas testify? How is it you have your own personal copy of the report? No evidence that she knew is not the same thing as saying "she did not know" or "she could not have known". Here's one thing for sure: plenty of folks at the school knew and still know but nobody is honest enough to tell what happened. They ought to stand up in church this Sunday and tell their congregations "Hi my name is so-and-so and I'm a LIAR!"

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

I downloaded my copy straight from the Georgia Department of Education. It's public information.

How could you be so sure she knew and that others knew she knew? Be careful how you speak on things. She could sue you for slander. Your nickname is not safe on here and you ip dress can easily be obtained. lol

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NUMBER1FAN 1 year, 1 month ago

Just so you know she took a lie detector test and PASSED! But the news is not reporting that......FACT! because they know feeble minded people only want to hear bad things so that they can convict people in the BLOGS.

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waltspecht 1 year, 1 month ago

Funny, if I fail to secure trade secrets I get fired. In the service if I even spoke of our operations I was looking at Levenworth on one hand or the Death Penalty on the other. If I disclose pricing or bid information to a competitor I am terminated and looking at fines and possible jail time. So why shouldn't this individual be terminated for failure to maintain chain of custody? There are safes you know

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

Well Walt...like I said before. They would have to suspend every principal in DCSS. There is no secure place in these schools when everyone has keys that have been distributed by plant operations. Safe, are you kidding? Is Dr. Thomas suppose to provide a safe for tests? I don't think so. Checks and balances for testing should be put in place by the State Board of Education. Dr. Thomas and other principals are the "Fall Guys" in this situation. I would love to see the rules and regulations book for testing. I bet it doesn't say that only two people should have keys to this secure room.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes that's what everybody says when they are cornered "Nobody wrote down everything I was supposed to do in my $125,000 job on 3 x 5 cards so I would know how to do my job (even though I had a PhD!) so I'm not responsible."

It's a pretty weak argument but lots of stupid people buy it.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

If you have never been in the testing process in public schools then you have NO Idea what is involved. First of all, No principal touches, counts or even sees the test. Every school has a testing coordinator which in DCSS case is an assistant principal. They are the ones who should ultimately be held accountable. The principals only monior hallways during testing. They aren't even allowed to enter the room where test are beig coded, only the test coordinator who signs off on being accountable for te administration of the test.

Check any school in DCSS and see who is the test coordinator. Ask if at any time is the principal is in direct contact with the test.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

So you tell us.........how did the cheating occur? You know everything that did not or could not happen......so enlighten us on how the cheating DID happen? Because IT DID HAPPEN!!!

You do realize that several teachers and administrators in Fulton County confessed to having grade changing parties, complete with wine and cheese and crackers, right? At least some of them were honest.

The biggest lesson in the DoCo fiasco? Don't say a mumbling word and you will be OK no matter what you did.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

We aren't talking Fulton County. I did not say that cheating didn't occur. YOu can enlighten yourself by reading the report to get the real facts.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

No, you're the one with all the answers. Tell us how the cheating did occur.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

Unlike you Ruby, I don't speak on things that I don't know about. I was not in the classrooms where the cheating took place so I can't tell you how that happened. What I do know about is school testing procedures which, apparently, you don't.
There are Hi-Tech cameras in all the hallways at every school in DCSS as well as devices at all entry doors for swiping in. These things are monitored downtown and show if the principal (or anyone else) is entering schools at any time (having test cheating parties) or going in out of the place where tests are stored. None of this has been proven in the case of Dr. Thomas. Her case is strictly a security breech and she has been unfairly labeled as a cheater by you and others (Slander). In every class there is a test administrator and a testing proctor. The principal is neither of those persons. The principal monitors the hallways to keep the school free from unnecessary traffic. NO principal should be held accountable for teachers cheating unless they are directly involved. A principal cannot man 12-15 classrooms at one time and cannot know what is taken place in every classroom. That is the purpose of the proctor in each classroom. Even with a PhD and a $125,000 per year job some things are still out of your control even if the state says you’re “Ultimately” responsible. It is just unreal and very unfortunate that she has to be the “fall guy” for someone else’s stupidity. It is also unreal that you want to lynch her based on the bits and pieces of news you receive or whatever you perceive of what you read.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 1 month ago

I have been involved and this is not true at every school. Teachers give tests to their own students. High school differs though.

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bigbob 1 year, 1 month ago

So auntiedee how long you been friends with Valerie.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Or is she "more than a friend"?

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

You're right Ruby, she's more than a friend, she's my "Sister in Christ", but you wouldn't understand that. You think because I defend someone I have a personal relationship with them. Unlike you, I just believe in stating the facts and let the chips fall where they may regardless who they are.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

"......let the tater chips fall where they may....."

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

About as long as you and I have been friends.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 1 month ago

Ignore Sister Ruby as she has no idea what goes on in a real school. All she does is read what Terry writes and make up her own conclusion from a negative and hateful perspective. AuntieDee has a good point about that test security and what the teachers do. Why dont you ask Terry to ask Dr. Thomas what really happened????........Get her side of the story instead of making up lies again.....

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cleanup 1 year, 1 month ago

Let all remember, if it was not for the students we would not have a job, let's not forget our students. they need us, they are there to learn, Teachers, principals and whoever, put self aside and do your jobs correctly, "'OUR STUDENTS IS TRIED OF THIS MESS" SO CLEAN UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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FryarTuk 1 year, 1 month ago

This is pretty much the same thing Velveeta Riggins did by setting the scenario to create plausible deniability. She completed part of her application for free meals for her offspring, intentionally left it in front of an underling. It was processed improproperly. Her offspring were given given free food which she knew about nevertheless establishing both her reasonable guilt and explanation. Same thing here. Hey folks, the test is yonder. The keys are there. Hohum, there's some vittles in the cafeteria I gotta leave here in four hours. Sell your story walking out the door. Folks, these people have used DCSS as a cash n carry. The preachers are raising holy hell because their gravy train is threatened and so are the barnacles on the sinking ship. They don't give a hoot about these children. Skin this mule, hide, sinew and hoof.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

bubbasmithbubbavetbubbacolon........you are one dumb crotchsnifferclambakerbuttscratcherblobblowermeatgrinderheadrotatorfootplanterassslider.

Please find another hobby that you are good at.

And take your alter ego bubbavet-rureel to some state that accepts Gay Marriage and get hitched and stay up there, like in Vermont or some other cold ass place.

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tknotty 1 year, 1 month ago

SHE JUST GOT A NEW CAR AND DAUGHTER JUST HAD A MILLION DOLLAR WEDDING ...... SMH

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

See? That's what I'm talkin bout

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

Ummm.....I was just wondering, did she get some money from cheating on the test? I dont get the connection between the new car, the daughter's wedding and the CRCT test. SMH.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

AuntieDee - you're the one with all the answers. Tell us what really happened.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 1 month ago

Sister Ruby is just jealous of her $100,000/year salary........and anybody else doing well in DCSS.....jealous, jealous, jealous,....hater , hater, hater........This little 3 month suspension is nothing to her......pennies......she will be back........and make more money next year!

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badheavychevy 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm glad she got suspended. She is a terrible principal anyway. She does not know what she is doing. Monroe was better off with the administrators they had. She is never at school anyway and does not even know whats going on here. If you are not in her clique, you will be talked about and mis-treated. Good riddance!!

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

Sounds like one of those disgruntled Monroe teachers that she had to reprimand. One thing for sure, teachers who were used to having their way and doing what they want under those other administrators will not like Dr. Thomas. She is firm but fair. I know people with children in both Lamar Reese and Monroe. Lamar Reese has gone downhill since she left. Monroe has improved. Those who are not on board with the administration will always balk.

Be careful how you dig ditches. You just may be the one to fall in it.

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tknotty 1 year, 1 month ago

Being off without pay is nothing ( she is a BOONE)

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Ihope4albany 1 year, 1 month ago

I hope that everyone of us in this blog is a volunteer at one or more of the DCSS schools.

If you are not involved, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE for the sake of our children-----GET INVOLVED. The knowledge that goes forth in these postings is amazing. RUN, RUN, RUN for DCSS SCHOOL BOARD because you have all the answers. It would be a piece of cake. With this group of posters, you can run the Georgia State Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education, the World Federation of Education, and the Galaxy of Education with blindfolds, hands tied behind your backs, and shoe strings untied.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 1 month ago

I may not know ALL but I know quite a bit about the DCSS. I don't need to volunteer or run for school board. When I speak its all about the facts which can be proven.

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WTFwtf 1 year ago

Sweep, sweep, sweep that ish off tha flo

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Ihope4albany 1 year ago

EXACTLY my point inDEEd!

If the spirit of volunteerism was as strong as the spirit of these 64 comments, just look at how much energy would have been positively spent.

Oh, I forgot, that is just for the Bright comment posting opportunity.

Truly, I hope that God never gives up hope on Albany because if we think the poor and disfranchised are the issue, we are mistaken.

As for now, I shall take my know-it-all ball and bat and go home to devise a volunteer program for the DCSS school children called - Oh yeah, we can't volunteer for you because we have all the facts.

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