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Richmond County school board members grade themselves

School board report card

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With the school year halfway through, The Augusta Chronicle asked Richmond County Board of Education members to grade how well the district performed in five critical areas using an A through F report card.

Richmond County's school board includes Patsy Scott (from left), Barbara Pulliam, Jack Padgett, Helen Minchew, Venus Cain, acting Superintendent James Whitson, Alex Howard, secretary Crystal Jackson, attorney Pete Fletcher, Frank Dolan, Eloise Curtis, Marion Barnes and Jimmy Atkins. Superintendent Frank Roberson was on leave.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Richmond County's school board includes Patsy Scott (from left), Barbara Pulliam, Jack Padgett, Helen Minchew, Venus Cain, acting Superintendent James Whitson, Alex Howard, secretary Crystal Jackson, attorney Pete Fletcher, Frank Dolan, Eloise Curtis, Marion Barnes and Jimmy Atkins. Superintendent Frank Roberson was on leave.

Below are the responses from board members Jimmy Atkins, Venus Cain, Alex Howard, Helen Minchew, Jack Padgett and Patsy Scott. Frank Dolan refused to participate and hung up on a reporter stating, “I don’t want to grade myself.” Barbara Pulliam, Marion Barnes and Eloise Curtis did not return repeated phone messages and e-mails seeking comment.

BOARD GOVERNANCE

Atkins A

Cain B

Howard A

Minchew B

Padgett A

Scott B

An effective school board helps maintain a system’s vision, monitor data and is accountable for financial health of a district, according to The Center for Public Education. It is also responsible for keeping all members up-to-date with training and accreditation. Richmond County was designated a board of distinction by Georgia School Boards Association and holds a five-year accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

This year, the board passed a $235 million budget that made up for a $17 million revenue shortfall with $7 million in cuts and a $10 million use of reserve funds. The board was able to avoid mass layoffs through attrition and retirements, although state funding cuts have put huge financial pressure on the system. Currently, the district uses $16 million more in expenditures than it receives in revenue and has $24 million in reserve money, even though it takes $22 million to cover one month of operations. Despite the struggles, most board members said the school system has dealt with financial pressures wisely.

“This accreditation was awarded without any reservations and included several commendations as well as recommendations for continued system improvement,” Minchew said. “We do strive to obtain input from various sources in arriving at decisions but one in which we could improve.”

TRANSPORTATION

Atkins C

Cain C

Howard C-

Minchew C

Padgett C

Scott C+

The 2011-12 school year began with thousands of complaints from parents about late buses and children who were never picked up for school.

Transportation Director Jimmie Wiley immediately began adjusting routes and trying to help schools adjust to the new shuttle system of transporting magnet students. However, the problem was worsened by several drivers calling in sick or not showing up for work on a daily basis. Two months into the school year, spokesman Lou Svehla said most of the buses were running on time because routes had been readjusted. In October, board members asked staff to start the bidding process of evaluating the cost of privatization.

“I would have given us an F at the beginning of the school year, but I do believe that our Transportation Department has made some improvements,” Atkins said. “I still want to explore the benefits of privatizing.”

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

Atkins F

Cain C

Howard C

Minchew B

Padgett B

Scott B

The academic progress made by Richmond County students is an issue that is highly debated in the district.

Last year, the graduation rate increased by three percentage points to 80.7 percent. But according to 2010-11 Criterion Referenced Competency Test results released this year, only 25 of 55 schools made federal adequate yearly progress benchmarks, two fewer schools than the year before.

The results made Richmond County the worst performing system among 12 comparable districts in the state. When he took office last year, Superintendent Frank Roberson said he wanted 44 of the 55 schools to meet AYP benchmarks in the 2010-11 year. Some board members said last month they were concerned about how student achievement will be affected next year since Roberson had been absent from the school system for 10 months on medical leave. Roberson’s goal to expand magnet programs were also put on hold during his leave. However, as far as performance on standardized tests, the efficacy of these standards have been challenged by many states in the country because they mark schools as failing or passing without accounting for gradual progress.

This fall, Georgia became one of 11 states to apply for a waiver from certain No Child Left Behind benchmarks.

If granted, the state will implement a College and Career Ready Performance Index instead, which will evaluate schools on a wider range of indicators, rather than solely the scores on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

“I always explain (No Child Left Behind) and try to help people understand just because a school didn’t make AYP doesn’t mean they didn’t make any process,” Cain said. “Look at where they were last year and compare the numbers. I use the 15 day assessments as a way for parents to see we are improving, but we have to work a bit harder at making the bar.”

FACILITIES

Atkins A

Cain A

Howard A

Minchew A-

Padgett A

Scott A

For the past 15 years, schools in Richmond County have been renovated and replaced using the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds approved by voters. The 1-cent sales tax has paid for millions of dollars of changes in local buildings, some more than 60 years old. The school board recently approved a list of $130 million in projects for an upcoming SPLOST that will go before voters next year.

Board members have said renovations have drastically improved the facade of buildings and made better learning environments for children in schools. Despite the $130 million designated for schools in the upcoming SPLOST vote, the district’s construction consultant Jeff Baker said the system has more than $300 million in needs. The school district is also responsible for maintenance and cleanliness of the schools.

“When I visit schools in District 5, the front offices, classrooms, hallways and lunchrooms are clean and safe,” Scott said.

COMMUNICATION

Atkins B

Cain B

Howard A

Minchew B

Padgett A

Scott A

As elected officials, school board members are expected to communicate with the residents of their districts and their designated schools.

According to The Center for Public Education, effective school boards collaborate with staff and stakeholders to maintain district goals.

They also should pass information to the public and communicate amongst themselves.

Richmond County held one public forum this school year to address transportation issues and as a way for parents to talk
about other issues with district leaders, but only about 120 parents and bus drivers attended.

Before going on medical leave a month later, Superintendent Frank Roberson held the first ever State of Public Education forum to discuss school issues in Richmond County.

About 450 people attended, but another forum for 2012 has not been scheduled, according to Svehla.

“This is an area that we strive to maintain open communication between the staff and board members by sharing info with all board members when one board member requests a specific request for info,” Padgett said.

“I take every opportunity to speak to the public on any issue. I feel that each board member should be responsive to all the public in Richmond County and not just to district voters. Good communication allays most of the concerns of the public.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ON THE BOARD GOVERNANCE

ATKINS: “I feel this is one area that the board has always done a good job.”

CAIN: “Yes, we are a board of distinction with GSBA.”

HOWARD: No Comment

MINCHEW: “Our district is a member of the Georgia School Boards Association through which we receive annual training in board governance as well as other pertinent areas such as code of ethics, establishing goals and objectives toward student achievement, superintendent evaluation and self-board evaluation. We currently are designed a Board of Distinction by GSBA through meeting certain criteria. In November 2007, our district received a five year District accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This accreditation was awarded without any reservations and included several commendations as well as recommendations for continued system improvement. We do strive to obtain input from various sources in arriving at decisions but one in which we could improve.”

PADGETT: “This school board received the designation as a Distinguished Board three years ago and has maintained that level of boardmanship. Each board member has the right to express their opinion on all matters and the right to vote yes or no on all issues.”

SCOTT: “The positive feedback that I received from my constituents regarding the Town Hall Meeting held at A.R. Johnson Magnet School earlier this year by Dr. Roberson was a step in the right direction. Hopefully we will continue these types of meetings in the future to keep the public aware and maintain transparency in our decision-making. The Board needs to maintain as open line of communication with our stake holders.”

TRANSPORTATION

ATKINS: “I would have given us an F at the beginning of the school year, but I do believe that our Transportation Department has made some improvements. I still want to explore the benefits of privatizing.”

CAIN: “With the current demands and challenges, they manage to get the job done. Yes we have problems and will continue to have problems until we offer a higher starting salary and pay for training. We have some really GREAT employees and GREAT drivers at transportation and we need to fine tune some issues.”

HOWARD: “This one area that we continue to struggle in, however, we have improved a great deal since school began.”

MINCHEW: “For quite awhile now our transportation department has been overextended and under-resourced in trying to meet the demands placed upon it, considering the number of students to be transported as well as the geographic size of this county. They are tasked with not only providing service to the regular zoned schools daily schedules but also athletic and other after school activities, field trips, as well as magnet schools/programs whose students come from all parts of the county. High daily absentee rate among drivers and difficulty in finding qualified drivers are factors in that this causes other drivers to have to run double routes causing delays in timely arrivals as well as stress. We are also challenged by budget constraints. One factor which has assisted lately was the approval to use SPLOST (one cent special tax for education) funds for the purchase of school buses which aids in purchasing new buses. The transportation department does review and try to make adjustments to times and scheduling as problems are brought to their attention.”

PADGETT: “The transportation system stills needs improvement. More direct planning, better communication, more discipline from the students and drivers, and more equipment is needed. I expect more evaluation as we add technology.”

SCOTT: “Our children are our most precious commodities. I am happy to report that our students arrive to and from school safely each day. However, I believe that the transportation of our children is a work in progress. As a Board member and previous parent of school age children who rode the bus daily to school, it is a priority of mine to ensure our students arrive to school safely and on time. I see the need for mass communication training among the Transportation Department. Everyone should feel as though they are a vital part of this department and should be each treated and respected accordingly. Everyone should understand that the bus driver’s role is important. Bus drivers have the first contact with our children and that contact has to be positive in order to set the pace for exceptional learning on any given day. I have not received any calls in the last few months about the lateness of school bus arrivals. I continue to promote the need for all buses to be air-conditioned and safe. This addition is especially warranted during the spring and summer months for health and safety reasons. In addition, as we focus on bus safety, I will continue to advocate for school bus monitors to provide the “extra eye” that is needed to supervise students during transportation.”

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

ATKINS: “I believe that we are letting the children of Richmond County down if we do not have 100 percent of our schools making AYP and a graduation rate of at least 95 percent.”

CAIN: “I always explain (No Child Left Behind) and try to help people understand just because a school didn’t make AYP doesn’t mean they didn’t make any process. Look at where they were last year and compare the numbers. I use the 15 day assessments as a way for parents to see we are improving, but we have to work a bit harder at making the bar.”

HOWARD: “While we did not make AYP, this responsibility relies on both the parents and the school system. This grade reflects that.”

MINCHEW: “With AYP through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, this rating is based on academic assessments in Math, and Reading/Language Arts with test participation and graduation rates included for high schools. For middle and elementary, CRCT test scores in Math and Reading/Language Arts along with test participation and attendance rates are used. 100 percent of the yearly objective goal needs to be met. It does not take into account progress which has been made toward meeting the criteria being measured. Last school year the district as a whole met 88.9 percent of these measures, with some individual schools coming as close to 94% to achieving these measures. Therefore, the district is making progress toward improving student achievement. Schools are doing more toward bringing all groups of students up in achievement such as offering before and after school tutoring, Saturday classes, and using student data to direct instruction. Partnerships with other community organizations are also utilized. However, in comparison with other systems with similar characteristics as ours, we are showing a lesser percentage of our schools meeting the objective goals for AYP. There is also a need for more focus on SAT/ACT scores. Race to the Top funding as well as School Improvement and other grants offer budgetary assistance at this time toward our desire to continue improvement in student achievement.”

PADGETT: “CRT shows some improvement but more needs to be done for low performing students. I very much prefer the tools that will be used when we receive the waiver from No Child Left Behind where progress is noted and you are not listed as failing if you show sufficient progress. We need to celebrate our progress and have a plan to move ‘all students’ forward in the ability to process information and not to just pass a test.”

SCOTT: “As I visit classrooms, I observe teachers teaching and students engaged and excited about learning. In most schools, teachers are going beyond the call of duty, arriving early and staying late, assisting students to help make progress with no additional compensation. For this extra commitment, I want to say thank you to our educators. I am glad that our focus is to ensure every student is college and career ready

I believe tests are important and want ALL schools in Richmond County to make AYP; however, we need to educate the whole child. We need to make sure our children are excelling in reading, math, science, history, social studies, the arts, penmanship, physical education and other vital subjects to ensure our students graduate and are ready to compete in the global society.”

FACILITIES

ATKINS: “SPLOST dollars have been our greatest asset when it comes to maintaining our facilities, but we do have room for improvement.”

CAIN: “We have improved all our schools and they are maintained. If you looked back at the ’80s and ’90s most if not all our schools were in pretty bad shape. We now have some really nice and updated schools.”

HOWARD: “The SPLOST has helped us here in this economy as well as Benton Starks, who does a great job for the system.”

MINCHEW: “Since the first SPLOST was approved many years ago, our facilities have shown considerable improvement due to the availability of these funds to build facilities, provide numerous renovations and repairs to existing ones, and eliminate the need for portable classrooms. This continues to this day as current projects under the present SPLOST are being completed and additional projects for the next SPLOST will be presented to the public shortly for their approval at the time of the March 2012 presidential primary. There still exist several unusable structures which we have boarded and continue to monitor and work toward a solution for disposing of these. Regular maintenance of our buildings and grounds continues to improve by our Maintenance Department constantly monitoring and adjusting within the present budget challenges.”

PADGETT: “The advances we have made and continue to make with E-Splost funding is outstanding and one of the brightest spots in our system. Though we still struggle with cuts in our maintenance department, we are making smart decisions about equipment and certainly the cleaning materials we use for a safer environment.”

SCOTT: “Schools in District 5 have maintained a clean and safe learning environment for our students. For example, at one school in the district, there is a welcoming atmosphere as soon as you walk in the door. The aroma in the air is very refreshing to visitors. When I visit schools in District 5, the front offices, classrooms, hallways and lunchrooms are clean and safe. I want to thank the custodial staff for being professionals and taking pride in carrying out their duties. Additionally, work orders are being prioritized and processed for repairs in an orderly and timely fashion based on high demand from the Maintenance Department.”

COMMUNICATION

ATKINS: “I believe that we as board members could do a much better job of communication with each other. I feel that the school system does a good job with being transparent, but again we have room for improvement. I cannot speak for the other board members, but I have always made myself available to address the concerns of the parents, students and employees of the Richmond County School System, because I know that I have been elected to be the voice of the citizens of district 8.”

CAIN: “We communicate well with each other. I attend 4th district community meetings, neighborhood meeting, I always make myself available to speak when asked. I hear the parents where ever I go! Nail shop, shopping, dinner, church, no matter where I’m at someone will stop me.”

HOWARD: “This is a reflection on myself as Board President. I feel that I have kept my fellow Board Members involved when issues do arise. I also have an open door policy with the public, and I returned all calls when I receive them.”

MINCHEW: “With our district Web site, school Web sites, E-Board and other links for information as well as a call system from schools to parents and parent portal component in which parents can access their student’s progress, our communication has greatly advanced in recent years. However, there are still snags along the way and improvements still needed. Board members communicate with each other via e-mail or phone calls. They also attend various neighborhood and community meetings in order to give information and receive input and bring back to full Board. However, this continues to be an area where many in the public feel additional improvement needs to be made.”

PADGETT: “This is an area that we strive to maintain open communication between the staff and board members by sharing info with all board members when one board member requests a specific request for info. I take every opportunity to speak to the public on any issue. I feel that each board member should be responsive to all the public in Richmond County and not just to district voters. Good communication allays most of the concerns of the public. Openness and honesty is a vital part of public service.”

SCOTT: “Overall communication among the Board Members and the public could be improved. I believe in transparency. The public would be more cooperative if we helped them to better understand various issues. I have partnered with State Representative Quincy Murphy and County Commissioner Bill Lockett to provide Quarterly Breakfast Meetings with constituents from District 5. During meetings, I provide an overview of important happenings in each school in District 5. These meetings have been informative, well attended and well received. I wish to share my community involvement with schools in District 5.”

– Compiled by Tracey McManus, staff writer

Comments (21) Add comment
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OnlyInAmerica
0
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OnlyInAmerica 12/24/11 - 04:42 pm
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what a joke!
Unpublished

what a joke!

nothin2show4it
120
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nothin2show4it 12/24/11 - 06:59 pm
0
0
yup
Unpublished

yup

eb97
835
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eb97 12/24/11 - 08:37 pm
0
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Boy, what rock have they had

Boy, what rock have they had their heads under.

dichotomy
37609
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dichotomy 12/24/11 - 10:18 pm
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I'm sorry, but I think for

I'm sorry, but I think for the amount of money we spend (waste) we have a horrible school system. Between the very high property taxes they take from us and then the extra money we give them from SPLOST, they get a heck of a lot, an unusually high amount, of taxpayer money. And by every measure taken we have a failing school system with failing students in a bunch of shiny new schools. All that glitters is not gold. Apparently all the school board knows how to do is spend money and build schools. Education is below standards and has not improved. You want a grade? Take a look at the graduation rate, the quality of students you give a diploma to even though they did not earn it, and the amount of money you bilk the taxpayers out of to provide this less than satisfactory service. F-

Asitisinaug
4
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Asitisinaug 12/24/11 - 10:43 pm
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We as taxpayers spend over

We as taxpayers spend over $100,000.00 per pupil through taxes given to the Richmond County School System for pupils to make it through the 10th grade. By then, over 25% will have dropped out making the entire 100,000.00 a complete waste.

Our school system was just rated the worst of the worst in the state (even when taking dempgraphics into consideration) in one of the worst states for euducation in the country. We spend more per pupil than many and yet the results are a complete disgrace.

You and a grade: F-

You spend $80,000.00 per year for a public information person so you can grade youselves with A's in communications - is this a joke?

You spend over $600,000.00 per year in legal fees so that Pete Fletcher keeps poorly behaving students in school preventing the few that want to learn from being able to learn.

We need school choice and school vouchers - it does work because we do have a couple of good public schools in Richmond County.

The terrible amount of waste and apathy in the RCBOE is pathetic.

Craig Spinks
818
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Craig Spinks 12/25/11 - 01:12 am
0
0
Asitisinaug, You may know and

Asitisinaug,

You may know and think too much for your own good.

In Augusta, I must reluctantly admit that there is a reasonable case to be made for anonymity in public postings in certain cases. Yours may well be one. Your comments about high levels of spending on non-graduating pupils, about system-wide academic under-achievement, and about exorbitant fees paid to an attorney unable/unwilling to maintain schools as learning environments strike much too closely to the truth and challenge privileged folks' positions at the top of the RCSS educracy.

avidreader
3567
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avidreader 12/25/11 - 08:15 am
0
0
Dichotomy, students who do

Dichotomy, students who do not pass all five of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests do not graduate. Therefore, if the student graduates, he has earned the diploma. Granted, many students merely squeak by, but there is a BAR, and it has been reached.

I wish that the public had direct access to Parent/Teacher communication log sheets (but, there are none). You would surely find that many high school teachers do not communicate with parents and many do. I have a long list of e-mail addresses for parents and send them a weekly state-of-the-class newsletter that details current goings-on. This process takes about 15 minutes of my time at home. If there is a pressing problem, I call. This is what effective teachers do.

I have a relatively low failure rate, and my kids are actually engaged for the most part. Guess who's failing my classes? You got it -- the kids without parental support -- the kids with high absenteeism; the kids who do not have any personal space in their home; the kids that cannot get mom to purchase a pack of pencils or a poster board for a project.

However, It is disgusting to hear other teachers say things like, "This is high school; it's the momma's business to take care of their children, not mine." This attitude will not fly in an educational system immersed with low-income children. Take a closer look at Alex Howard's comment about student achievement. Even he makes the point that we are a community of educators, parents and teachers alike.

Before anyone attempts to tear my commentary apart, please note that I agree with many of your comments. There is a huge gap between funding and performance. There are bureaucrats who are promoted into positions of incompetency. And the list goes on! However, I have a lot of faith in our local system, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, in spite of the many pitfalls. If your children are my students, you can rest assured that I will educate them.

Riverman1
94210
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Riverman1 12/25/11 - 08:20 am
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The poor results of Richmond

The poor results of Richmond County schools are not the result of board members. As noted, the facilities are rated "A." It's the demographics of the county and it's going to take a long time to improve. I can successfully predict the public school results of any system in the nation if you tell me the income level.

seenitB4
98439
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seenitB4 12/25/11 - 08:34 am
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Of course your post is

Of course your post is correct RM......but don't forget what caused the demographics of Richmond county-------parents were FORCED to send their kids to schools many miles away.... buses came by the house to send 1 color in 1direction & another color in another direction----(I fully know this because I lived it),Now if they had said all kids go to local schools in the neighborhood this would have made sense....but no the parents balked & said noway hosea--- & moved or sent their kids to private schools........funny thing ---people don't like forced anything & daddie government just can't get THAT!!!
Now if daddie government wants to force people to move to certain neighborhoods (nothing surprises me anymore) let's see what folks will do then.......
The government doesn't get it right & we all pay a price for
their decisions....right now the Feds can't get it right about illegals---nosurprise either---Sheriff Arpaio just had a ruling against him...

Riverman1
94210
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Riverman1 12/25/11 - 08:36 am
0
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SeenIt, busing kids for

SeenIt, busing kids for racial balance in schools was one of the biggest mistakes and impositions by the federal government into local government ever.

blues550
380
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blues550 12/25/11 - 08:42 am
0
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Putting the board aside, I am
Unpublished

Putting the board aside, I am in Richmond County schoos on a regular basis and the teachers and administrators I see are very dedicated to their students and their school.

seenitB4
98439
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seenitB4 12/25/11 - 08:44 am
0
0
RM...It still goes on

RM...It still goes on today---voting districts????---Trying to balance a racial makeup of anything...who will lose....we all do.

Riverman1
94210
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Riverman1 12/25/11 - 08:48 am
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SeenIt, yep...still goes on.

SeenIt, yep...still goes on. There's no doubt there was a problem during the segregation era and things had to be changed to promote racial equality, but, goodness, that was 50 years ago. It's time to ensure equal rights, but not try to legislate some bizarre system to get us all together. That comes from the people, not the federal government.

my.voice
5180
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my.voice 12/25/11 - 10:12 am
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Whoever heard of grading

Whoever heard of grading yourself? I bet the kids would like a shot at that!

Asitisinaug
4
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Asitisinaug 12/25/11 - 01:13 pm
0
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AvidReader, thanks for your

AvidReader, thanks for your service as it sounds as if you are a good and caring teacher - we need many more. With current policies, tenure and apathy at the highest of levels I don't see any major positive changes in the future.

Sweet son
11727
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Sweet son 12/25/11 - 02:48 pm
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@OnlyinAmerica: First comment

@OnlyinAmerica: First comment was the best. Ms. McManus and the "Comical" should come up with something other than this for the "education" beat. Probably a well written article but the content stunk! Why not have the school faculties grade themselves now that would be a complete joke!

eagle
94
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eagle 12/25/11 - 02:56 pm
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AvidReader, many thanks for
Unpublished

AvidReader, many thanks for what you do. You are one of those rare individuals who instills pride and respect in your students and it shows.
I'd be willing to bet that you set a high standard for them and they do all they can to meet or exceed that standard. Kudos to you.

I don't have any kids in the school system. In fact, I don't have any kids...I (and all of you) have to deal with everyone elses kids. Some good and mannerly and many that I'd like to duct tape to a chair and teach them some manners (AFTER I washed their mouth out with soap).

Respect and manners start at home and then is carried over into the public arenas. However, as long as the public (meaning all of us) con-dones the current actions of the young, it will only get worse. That includes the schools. Set the standards high, but achievable. It worked in the 50's/60's and before and can certainly work again. I also know I'm "preaching to the choir," so I'll rest my fingers and quit.

DHL49
0
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DHL49 12/25/11 - 09:04 pm
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Thank you avidreader. We'd

Thank you avidreader. We'd all love to have schools filled with serious and educated professionals, like you, who are interested in teaching the students of Richmond County.
I too am advocate of school choice. The reality is a harsh one in our politically correct, let's be fair to everyone society, but school choice would pair good teachers and interested parents. Our magnet schools "magnify" this principle.
If I was in charge, our system would have 3 new elementary magnets, now. Use the same system as CTWalker. Fill as many kindergarten slots as you have interested parents and kids who pass the kindergarten readiness test. You could probably add first grade as well. In a couple of years, we could have 1650 additional slots open for those students interested in getting an education in Richmond County.

Riverman1
94210
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Riverman1 12/25/11 - 09:32 pm
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A cold, hard fact is the

A cold, hard fact is the success of magnet schools lessens that of regular schools. The magnet schools take the best students from the regular schools who set the example in many ways.

DHL49
0
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DHL49 12/25/11 - 11:49 pm
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Respectfully disagreeing with

Respectfully disagreeing with riverman1. CTWalker takes children with average IQ's, who have parents that are willing to jump through the hoops of picking up and filling out an application and showing up at 8am on a Saturday morning to have their child tested. The formula that works: parents want their kid at Walker and the child is trained at 5years old to behave at school and complete all schoolwork.
There is nothing special about walker kids, in 2005 the average IQ was 105, the county wide average was 100.
Students and parents sign a contract. They agree to follow all rules or be dismissed from the school.
This model takes NOTHING away from zoned schools. There is no reason children who want to behave and learn should be forced to sit idol in a classroom while the teacher is policing behavior problems or struggling with inclusion students. It still say we could start now with K-1, next year K, 1 & 2, then K, 1, 2 & 3, and so on until we filled an elementary school.
It makes no sense to blame the failure of zoned schools on the success of a program based on personal responsibility.

DHL49
0
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DHL49 12/26/11 - 12:08 am
0
0
Oh and Riverman1, predict

Oh and Riverman1, predict this: CT Walker, 45% free and reduced lunch.

Asitisinaug
4
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Asitisinaug 12/26/11 - 01:46 am
0
0
Excellent comments DHL49. One

Excellent comments DHL49.

One of the main problems is that learning can not take place without an effective discipline plan that works.

Teachers fail to send kids to the office who are disrupting the class because the administration fails to do anything about them because parents complain and the board/tribunals send them back to school anyway because everyone must learn.

Bring strong discipline back into the school system (you will need to fire your current attorney and hire one with a backbone first). Support the teachers who care and are teaching and do your best to fire the rest. 10% of the student body makes it difficult for 80% to learn. The other 10% are in advanced placement classes and don't have to deal with all of the problems except during class changes or lunch.

We should no longer allow a few individuals (most of whom will never graduate anyway) to continue to greatly interfere with the learning environment. Furthermore, we should not allow teachers who fail to teach and do their best to educate our youth to remain government employees.

Safe schools that are conducive to learning where those in the classroom causing problems are removed and dealt with accordingly will produce far better educated individuals.

Riverman1
94210
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Riverman1 12/26/11 - 08:52 am
0
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DHL49, I understand your

DHL49, I understand your viewpoint, but the problem is these kids are good kids who would set the example for those who are left behind in the regular schools. You say their IQ is only slightly higher than the kids left behind, but you also explain they have a greater work ethic with more parental involvement. Those are the qualities and attributes that would help a regular public school.

Remember when you and I went to public school and there were all types? In my high school we had future college presidents, mayors, sheriffs, doctors and lawyers. I was friends with these people and I'm sure they affected me in a positive way. After going to work in factories for a couple of years, I ended up going to college and getting a couple of grad degrees. Their leadership rubbed off on me and I wanted to emulate them. I felt like I was ONE of THEM.

I readily admit there were also future murderers, crooks, failures and people who died at a very early age due to recklessness. If the successful students hadn't been at the school, I would have never been exposed to their beneficial influence to balance the bad influences.

By the way, those IQ scores are eye opening. If that is the average in Richmond County and CT Walker only has an average of 105, we have entirely too many colleges. We need more tech schools. People with a 105 IQ need to find their niche, a way to use their possibly brilliant abilities, in ways other than college where academics are or should be designed for those with much higher scores.

bumblebeerose
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Points
bumblebeerose 12/26/11 - 11:57 am
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Yes this article is a joke,

Yes this article is a joke, we all know that if you are grading yourself you will grade yourself high. Nobody wants to admit failure.
The school system has both good and bad teachers. As a parent I have seen both. Teachers that go beyond what they need to do to see that a child learns and passes because they earned it. My stepson has a math teacher now that tutors her students before class three days a week to help them with things they are having problems with. This is something that she does not have to do. She does it because she wants to and wants to see the children succeed in math class. The only requirement this teacher has for this is that the parents must bring the child to school early and the child must have problems wrote out for her to help them.

RCBOE also has a Parent Internet Viewer System for parents to view the childs grades. You as a parent must go to the school and get your user name and password. Then log into the system and you can see your childs grades for all of their classes. This is a very useful tool if parents use it, and if the teachers use it. I check this site daily to see the progress of my children. This is something that all teachers should be required to use and post grades at least once a week. Some teachers do not even use it. When I see failing grades I contact the teacher by email to ask what is going on. If parents to not get involved in their childs education they can only blame themselves. You will not know if you have a good or bad teacher or if your child is just refusing to do what is need of them to get an education.

So much of what is posted on here is true. We all need to understand that in order for the child to succeed it takes the parents and teachers that care. If you do not have that then it does not matter what you do it will fail.

Why send a child to the office for misbehaving in class because when you call the parents you either do not get them to answer the phone or if they do they say "my child would not do that." Until we as parents get involved in our childs education and try to support the system it is going to fail. We as parents also need to understand yes your child just might do what they are saying so stop believing they would not.

DHL49
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DHL49 12/26/11 - 02:23 pm
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Not sure when or where you

Not sure when or where you went to school, riverman1. I attended neighborhood schools within walking distance from my home. We had a separate classroom for special needs, mostly down's kids, no inculsion. In jr high we were separated and grouped by ability. My classmates were middle class-upper, mid and lower, mostly two parent homes. I graduated in 76, so the government war on poverty hadn't disintegrated our culture. The poorest people in my town lived in small homes. There were no projects. Lunches were brought to school in metal boxes, packed at home. The expectation was parents provided for their children.
The IQ scores are at Walker are significant. They have no MR kids included(like the rest of RC) because there are none enrolled. The Walker students aren't born compliant, they are trained. The mix is 45%black, 45%white and 10% other. The income levels are also varied. They have kids from projects, army base, south Augusta , hill area, etc. 99% of the kids have parent support. The 1% without it, don't stay, can't make it.
Your proposal that children like this should be stuck in the role of inspiring others in their zoned school makes no sense. All RCBOE schools have somebody passing the CRCT. the percentages of meets and exceeds go down as the kids get older. The culture of ghetto and failure and bullies and drugs swallow children who ought to have a chance. We need to act and the magnet model works. When my daughter auditioned we sat in an auditorium packed with families. At 8am Saturday morning there were over 200 families hoping for one of 80 slots. There were 120 leftover families right there whom-cared enough about their child to make the effort. I know there would be more if the concept were advertised. We have empty school houses. Why not open one and start with 160 kids, 5 and 6 years old, 8 teachers and 6 TA's? Use the contract, enforce it and at the end of school year, open it to 80 new 5year olds, add a second grade for the kids moving up and continue until you fill another magnet school.
I say k and 1st because the kids have to be trained to have the system work for a variety of abilities. If they wanted to fill an entire school, k- 5, it would have to be selective, using grades, including conduct, and test score to fill the slots.
Our students have a finite number of years to be children, it is not their responsibility to give up their school years to mold the characters of their peers. That idea sounds like that stupid children's book, "Rainbow Fish."

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