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Albany State, Darton State and Albany Tech to take aim at county's dropout rate

OUTLOOK 2014: The area's leaders of higher education to collaborate on improving learning in the region and stanching Dougherty County’s drop out rate.

From left, Anthony Parker, President of Albany Technical College; Paul Jones, Interim President of Darton State College; Art Dunning, Interim President of Albany State University; and Butch Mosely, Interim Superintendent of the Dougherty County School System, have launched a collaborative effort to improve education Dougherty County. (Special Photo)

From left, Anthony Parker, President of Albany Technical College; Paul Jones, Interim President of Darton State College; Art Dunning, Interim President of Albany State University; and Butch Mosely, Interim Superintendent of the Dougherty County School System, have launched a collaborative effort to improve education Dougherty County. (Special Photo)

ALBANY — Discussions about how to improve student success are underway among Southwest Georgia’s top education leaders. The first in a series of monthly meetings between presidents at Albany State University, Albany Technical College and Darton State College; also, the superintendent of the Dougherty County School System, began late last month at Albany Technical College.

The meeting kicked off a collaborative partnership between institution leaders.

ASU and Darton State College Interim Presidents Art Dunning and Paul Jones joined DCSS’s Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely and ATC President Anthony O. Parker for talks about how to increase academic achievement in K-12 schools, leverage resources and provide mentoring for under served students to dramatically impact graduation rates in the region.

The goals coincide with Gov. Nathan Deal’s “Complete College Georgia” plan to add an additional 250,000 post-secondary graduates to the state’s rolls by 2020 to provide for a more educated workforce.

The University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) are working to address this critical need.

Dunning, Jones, Parker and Mosely believe the new collaboration will identify and solve the challenges faced by under-performing students.

“We cannot separate ourselves from issues such as the dropout rate in K-12 schools. The educational institutions in the region are a joint entity and collaborative partners who can leverage resources to help students get on the path to a successful future,” Dunning said.

“This is an effort we have needed here in Albany and Southwest Georgia for a very long time,” Parker said. “I’m confident that through the collaboration and our institutions working together, we can more than achieve our goals for the region.”

“This is a pivotal time in the history of Southwest Georgia,” Jones said. “In order for us to find solutions to the problems facing our community, we must change the way we approach these issues. Our ability to work together only increases our ability to serve the community.”

Dunning also spoke about the need for ASU to work in concert with Darton, ATC and the local school system to build a better community through education. In stressing that point, Dunning urged holding the leaders of those institutions accountable for collaboration.

“I’ve said to Paul Jones at Darton, Anthony Parker at Albany Tech and the school superintendent David Mosely, ‘We’re all in this together. We need to leverage our intellectual assets to strengthen what’s happening to our young people, and this community,’” Dunning said. “If we’re not talking, y’all insist that we talk and if we’re not talking, shame on us. We need to be thinking about how do we take our assets and make this community a better place for all of us. I’m committed to doing that.”

Albany Tech has already started a new partnership with the Dougherty County School System with the formation of the new College and Career Performance Learning Center, which launched in the fall of last year.

With almost 15 students beginning at Albany Tech this month, this partnership will allow students who may be behind in graduating from high school to remain in high school and gain some college credit through dual and joint enrollment opportunities at Albany Tech.