Georgia schools

RICHMOND COUNTY

 

The Richmond County school system has 60 schools: eight high schools, 10 middle schools, 36 elementary schools, three magnet schools, an evening school and two schools for pupils with behavioral problems or emotional needs. Almost 32,000 pupils are enrolled.

Richmond County schools have been recognized both locally and nationally.

Freedom Park Elementary School, located at Fort Gordon, was named as one of the national No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon schools in Georgia in 2007.

The county's three magnet schools include John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School for pupils in grades 6-12. Davidson was named a 2004 Blue Ribbon School and continues to be ranked the state's top high school by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

Davidson again had the highest SAT scores of any school in Georgia in 2007, a distinction it earns frequently.

A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School is composed of grades 9-12 and won the blue ribbon award in 2003. C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School houses grades K-8 and was named a Georgia School of Excellence in 2003. None of the county's middle schools made Adequate Yearly Progress in the 2006-07 school year.

In 2007, Superintendent Dana Bedden was selected after a national search to replace Dr. Charles Larke, who retired after more than a decade in the position.

Dr. Bedden is working to implement a "blueprint for success," adding to what he sees as an already successful school system.

Richmond County is in the third phase of an extensive construction program that will renovate existing schools and add new schools, including a vocational magnet school, an elementary fine arts magnet and a second traditional magnet elementary school.

The county's schools no longer require pupils to wear uniforms, but the school system maintains a strict dress code.

For more information, see the Richmond County Board of Education Web site: www.rcboe.org.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Keeping up with growth is a never-ending task for Columbia County schools. The school system enrollment figures are projected to increase by 484 students in 2008. Stallings Island Middle School will open on Blackstone Camp Road in August . The school was named in honor of the 16-acre Stallings Island, which is located just below Stevens Creek dam in the Savannah River about eight miles from Augusta. The county's only two-story school will relieve overcrowding at six of the system's seven middle schools. Only Harlem Middle School will not be affected by rezoning efforts. Construction also is continuing on the county's fifth high school. The 250,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open on Chamblin Road in August 2009. All of the county's 27 schools made Adequate Yearly Progress in 2007.

New statewide high school graduation requirements will go into effect for the freshman class of 2008-09. All students must earn 23 credits to receive a diploma. The school system will explore expanding its prekindergarten program. The system currently has pre-K classes at all of its elementary schools except Stevens Creek, Blue Ridge and Riverside. Plans are being made to build two more elementary schools. The first, projected to open in 2010, would alleviate overcrowding at Stevens Creek, Blue Ridge and South Columbia elementary schools. The second, with a targeted opening date of 2012, would relieve enrollment at Greenbrier, Lewiston and Cedar Ridge elementary schools.

For more information on the school system, visit the Columbia County Board of Education's Web site at www.ccboe.net.

MCDUFFIE COUNTY

The Board of Education oversees four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one alternative school.

For the 2006-07 school year, all of the county schools made AYP except Thomson High School, which fell short in the subgroup of economically disadvantaged students in math. School officials remain optimistic, however, because the high school's graduation rate has increased 21.8 percent since the 2002-03 school year, to 74.4 percent. The high school also was awarded the Governor's Office of Student Achievement Bronze Award last year for the greatest gain in percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards.

The school system recently earned District Accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), becoming one of the first 38 school districts in Georgia and one of the first 140 in the nation to hold that distinction. For more information, visit the McDuffie County schools' Web site, www.mcduffie.k12.ga.us.