Originally created 11/15/00

State to give training for advisory councils



ATLANTA - Community members appointed to state-mandated school advisory boards this year will find help from a new training center designed to guide them through their role in school reform.

The Georgia School Council Institute will provide resources and training as a result of a private initiative by state Board of Education member Cathy Henson, officials announced Tuesday.

Gov. Roy Barnes' education reform requires each school system to have an advisory council of teachers, business people and parents.

"The institute will ... give them consistent support," said Ron Newcomb, the governor's education aide. "These (school councils) are vehicles for neighborhood support of schools."

The councils will advise local school boards on pupil achievement and school reform. The institute will help each council understand the education reform law and will explain the group's role in school accountability.

"The councils are there to work with local boards and serve in an advisory role," said Ms. Henson, who funded the institute herself.

Officials with the institute and the regional agencies said they will work together to make sure each school council has the training necessary to operate successfully.

Lindsay Thomas, president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, said businesses and educators have been visiting successful schools throughout the state and found one common trait.

"The whole darn community is involved in the success of those schools," Mr. Thomas said. "These school councils are absolutely essential to our future."

Reach Shannon Womble at (404) 589-8424.