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Dougherty County School System Notebook - Jan. 26, 2014

A compilation of news from the Dougherty County public schools

Theotis Gervin has been promoted to Interim Assistant Chief in the Dougherty County School System Police Department.

Theotis Gervin has been promoted to Interim Assistant Chief in the Dougherty County School System Police Department.

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Radium Springs Middle School students, from left, Amber Brookins, Roderick Pollock, Kristian Graham, Destiny Suder, Kaley Walls, and Ozellious Roberts. Tiambi Walker recently participated in the school’s Sixth Annual Science Fair.

Rewards schools recognized

At its Jan. 13 meeting, the Dougherty County Board of Education recognized five schools that earned the highest levels for academic improvement in the new Georgia accountability system. The level is called Reward Schools and these schools were named for being among the top 10 percent of schools in the state in student performance improvement.

Representatives were present at the meeting to receive the commendation from the School Board and Interim Superintendent David Mosely. Schools named to the high performance list were Dougherty International Education Middle School, Lamar Reese School of the Arts, Merry Acres Middle School, Sherwood Acres Elementary School and Southside Middle School.

Student Athletes recognized

The Breakfast of Champions, an annual event sponsored by the DCSS Athletic Department, is held to show appreciation to student-athletes who have excelled on the gridiron and earned recognition in their respective division. This year’s event was on Jan. 8 and was held in conjunction with Collaborative Partners, Student Support Services and Greater Cutliff Grove Baptist Church.

DCSS Athletic Director Coach Johnny Seabrooks and his staff gave recognition for athletic achievement. Honorees at the breakfast were region champions Westover Comprehensive High School and state participant Monroe Comprehensive High School. Congratulatory remarks were delivered by state Sen. Freddie Powell-Sims, D-Dawson, who encouraged the teams to work hard and carry themselves in a respectful manner. Congratulations also were given by Interim Superintendent David Mosely and Monroe Principal Vincent Davis.

Kendra Huff, CTAE supervisor at Monroe, entertained the attendees with an inspiring solo, “I Believe I Can Fly.” More than 200 football players and cheerleaders attended. Coaches Charles Truitt and Octavia Jones, head coaches at Monroe and Westover, respectively, expressed their thanks for the support shown by the school system and the community.

Georgia Teacher of the Year visits

Jemelleh Coes, 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year, visited with Interim Superintendent David Mosely and toured schools in the Dougherty County School System last week. Coes is a special education English language arts and reading teacher from Langston Chapel Middle School in Statesboro. As Georgia’s top teacher, Coes serves as an advocate for public education in Georgia. She is scheduled to visit community organizations, universities and colleges, and school systems across the state promoting public education.

“We are proud to host Ms. Coes and happy she wanted to visit our system to see the improvements we are making here,” Mosely said. “She has much to offer in sharing her experience and love for teaching with our community.”

Coes was accompanied on her visit by local Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) representative Barbara Collier and PAGE member services coordinator Gwen Desselle. The PAGE organization provides state sponsorship for the recognition program.

Superintendent speaks to Exchange Club

Interim Superintendent David Mosely was guest speaker jan. 10 for the Exchange Club of Albany, providing an overview of progress during the anniversary month of his leadership of the school system. Club members voiced support for his work to correct problems and to implement new efficiencies that have resulted in the return of three furlough days to staff since school began this year.

“Our goal is to get the instructional days back up to 180 days for our students,” said Mosely. “Those days are important to improving academic performance.”

Mosely also explained success in the reestablishment of trust with the Georgia Department of Education and the community. The system was placed on high-risk status for federal program funding a short time before Mosely was named interim superintendent. It has cleared spending irregularities and has been allowed to access federal funding that was being held for misuse of funds. The state recently allowed the system a waiver to access, through carryover, more than $3 million which is being used for school improvement.

Placing key leaders in schools was cited as the most critical change to impact the future success of schools. “We placed nine new principals this year and half of our schools had leadership new to their schools,” he reported. “These leaders have been charged with putting the right teachers in their classrooms.

The closing of three schools and the revamping of the transportation department also were given as key areas that contribute to operational efficiency. During questions from the audience, many Exchangites praised the work they have seen across the system and encouraged the superintendent to continue his leadership.

Financial Aid Night/College Fair Feb. 10

The Dougherty County School System and Albany State University will host a Financial Aid Night and College Fair at Albany State University on Feb. 10 for high school seniors and their parents. In the past, each Dougherty County high school has hosted its own event, but this year the four schools will come together to make Financial Aid Night a community event.

High school seniors and their parents will have an opportunity to tour ASU’s campus, participate in a financial aid presentation by Angie Wilson from the Georgia Student Finance Commission, talk to military recruiters, and meet with admissions and financial aid advisers from ASU, Darton State College, Troy University and Albany Technical College.

Parents are encouraged to bring tax information in order to complete the student financial aid application during the event.

This event is open to all high school seniors and their parents in Dougherty, Lee, Terrell, Sumter, Crisp, Worth, Clay, and Randolph counties, and will be held in the ACAD Auditorium on the ASU campus. ASU campus tours begin at 5 p.m., the financial aid workshop at 6 p.m., and the college fair at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Tracy Knighton, Westover Comprehensive High School, at (229) 431-3320.

Volunteers support Radium Science Fair

Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Arts recently held its 6th annual science fair with support from a number of community volunteers. All of the projects entered were judged by volunteers from Albany State University, Flint RiverQuarium and Chehaw Park, and by retired Dougherty County School System science educators. Students were required to explain their projects to the judges during the event. The top three winners from each grade level move on to compete in the Darton State College Regional Science Fair in February.

Parent facilitators attend conference

Several Dougherty County School System parent facilitators, administrators and parent advisory council members attended the 2014 Georgia Family Engagement Conference last week in Athens.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Family Engagement … Building Connections: Parents, Educators, Students, and Communities Sharing Responsibility to Impact Student Achievement and Success.” Featured speakers for the conference included Steven Constantino, superintendent of the Williamsburg-James City County School District, who shared “Five Simple Principles to Engage Every Family,” and Aric Bostick, speaker and author, who was “Fired Up About Education, Students, and Parents.”

In addition, Dougherty County’s representative on the State Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council, Rance Pettibone, offered a “Parent Moment” during Friday’s general session.

The conference included numerous workshop sessions in which participants learned about parental involvement compliance requirements, the latest research-based strategies and best practices for increasing and enhancing family/community engagement, and strategies to develop and increase parent leadership skills.

February is Parent Leadership Month in Georgia and the public is invited to attend the next District Parent Meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Sherwood Acres Elementary School Cafeteria. There will be breakout sessions led by both parents and parent facilitators from Dougherty schools. Child care will be provided and door prizes will be given away. For more information, contact any Title I parent facilitator.

New leadership in DCSSPD

Theotis Gervin, formerly captain in the Dougherty County School System Police Department, was promoted to the rank of interim assistant chief of police at the January Board of Education meeting. The recommendation from Interim superintendent David Mosely was made in response to an independent study of the police department’s operations and staffing.

Gervin has served in the department for 15 years and had the rank of captain since 2005. Before his service with the school system, Gervin served in the Albany Police Department for 10 years, specializing in criminal prosecution, homicide investigation, and counter insurgence/intelligence. He is a 12-year veteran of the Marine Corps, where he served in the military police.