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Dougherty County educational leaders meet at MCLB-Albany

The educational group plans on holding community listening sessions in early summer.

Albany State Interim President Art Dunning, left, Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker and MCLB-Albany Commanding Officer Col. Don Davis observe a class at the base’s Childhood Development Center Friday afternoon. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Albany State Interim President Art Dunning, left, Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker and MCLB-Albany Commanding Officer Col. Don Davis observe a class at the base’s Childhood Development Center Friday afternoon. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

MCLB-ALBANY — Guided by MCLB-Albany Commanding Officer Col. Don Davis, the four members of the Dougherty County’s recently-formed educational collaborative, Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker, Albany State Interim President Art Dunning, Darton State College Interim President Paul Jones, and Dougherty County School Superintendent Butch Mosely, were given a walking tour of the base’s Childhood Development Center Friday Afternoon.

The educational group, formed to enhance education and prevent dropouts, met earlier in the day (their fifth meeting) before closing out the day with a meeting with Davis.

Parker said the group was beginning to firm up some plans to bring their vision of preventing dropouts to reality. They want to model a local program after a pre-kindergarten through age 16 collaborative in El Paso, Texas, and how that community has transformed education through a similar collaborative efforts among businesses, community leaders, K-12 schools, and higher education partnerships.

“We are planning on having several ‘listening sessions’ to let the community and parents have input and find out what they think,” Parker said. “We think we’ll hold these sessions in early summer.”

Dunning then added what the group hoped to get from the listening sessions.

“We want to find out what people think are the barriers that inhibit learning and staying in school.” Dunning said. “We also want to hear from a number of people in the business community who support education who will give us feedback to shape our future plans.”

“I know it seems like we are taking a long time to pull this together, but you have to remember we didn’t get where we are now quickly and these changes won’t happen overnight,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, Mosely said the DCSS’s main priority is doing “a better job with our children through the sixth grade. That’s where we can have the most success in preventing dropouts.”

After completing the community listening sessions, the four men plan on making an on-site visit to the El Paso school district in August.