Bedden prepares schools for 'battle'

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Amid a pep rally atmosphere Tuesday at the Bell Auditorium, Richmond County educators heard where their school system has been, where it is going and how it will get there.

Superintendent Dana Bedden acknowledged educators face many challenges, including the third budget shortfall in less than a year. But he emphasized that the success of the school system is vital to Augusta's work force.

Playing a clip from the 1996 movie Independence Day , Dr. Bedden rallied the thousands who attended the convocation, the first in 10 years. In the clip, Bill Pullman, who plays the president, delivers a speech as a group of aviators prepares to launch a counterattack against aliens.

"When you came to work yesterday, you started putting on your flight suits," Dr. Bedden said. "On Aug. 11, we go to battle, and after today we start fighting for our survival ... The question is, will we go quietly in the night?"

To survive, the school system has been undergoing tremendous change, the superintendent said.

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery," he said, quoting author Harold Wilson.

Dr. Bedden urged working with the community and local businesses. The convocation was funded entirely by business donations. Dr. Bedden admitted his passion for education is personal. His son is a gifted student, but his daughter, a special-needs child, struggles. His mother has an eighth-grade education, one of his brothers died in prison, and another brother has spent most of his life behind bars.

"I did not have that silver spoon," Dr. Bedden said. "When you see that passion, it's because that kid (on the street) could have been me."

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (37)

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 08/06/08 - 06:11 am
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Dr Bedden continues to

Dr Bedden continues to display the passion and leadership for which he was hired.

Reality
3
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Reality 08/06/08 - 06:19 am
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He should have been saying

He should have been saying "You can't handle the truth", get off your butts and be real parents, help your children learn.....

askme2b123
0
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askme2b123 08/06/08 - 06:56 am
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Good job, Dr. Bedden! Keep

Good job, Dr. Bedden! Keep up the good work and have a wonderful and successful 2008-2009 school year.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 08/06/08 - 06:57 am
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I believe the schools can

I believe the schools can come out of the educational mire, I'm praying Laney does, I still say however, as Long as Dr. Welcher is the principal there, we will stay on AYP, 5 years and running.

christian134
1
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christian134 08/06/08 - 07:25 am
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Keep your eyes, ears, and

Keep your eyes, ears, and door open Dr. Bedden. Venture into the schools, all schools, often without anyone knowing of your visits...I am going to go out on a limb and say you will be in for an eye-opening experience...Parents become parents and take charge of your kids..If they are important enough to you then you will move mountains to train them, discipline them, and above all teach them to love God and to respect themselves and others...Good luck Dr. Bedden..Make all those who have put faith in your abilities not be filled with the sense of disappointment we all felt with the last few Superintendents.

factfinder
6
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factfinder 08/06/08 - 07:27 am
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Congratulations to Dr. Bedden

Congratulations to Dr. Bedden and his staff on a wonderful school opening activity for Richmond County. I understand the speaker Dr. D. Wharton was fantastic and has a repertoire which includes being the leader of an elementary school where students’ academic performance moved from being one of the lowest in the country to a school of honor. In order for our lower performing schools to move from the “needs improvement list” to joining the other top ranked school in the county, without having the student populations shift, Dr. Bedden must have the support of Richmond County Board of Education to hire quality leaders with the experience of working in a school setting that moved from meager to great. In some cases, to accomplish the goal of getting quality leadership with vision it maybe necessary to hire outside of the usual circle. Richmond County’s hiring practice of leaders is very similar to what happens in smaller counties, employees are hired from within because they know the correct board member, or have the right connection, but lack in expertise. To the detriment of the school system many of the persons hired in leadership positions have not seen excellence and cannot duplicate excellence. Face it board members you must insist that the employee screening process be revamp so that you are presented with a slate of candidates with the necessary expertise to work with the staffs of schools to turn change lower performing schools into high performing school. The system will benefit in that you will eventually gain a larger pool of educators who will have the experience of actually working in a school that has gone from a low achieving school to high achieving school. If you keep doing things the same old way (hiring leaders to learn on the job) you keep getting the same results. The choices are you can keep watching the lower performing school and the current leadership to see if you have the right folks on the right bus or you can actively seek proven leaders (which process would make the better use of tax payer’s money)?

madddhatter
0
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madddhatter 08/06/08 - 07:40 am
0
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With all the budget cuts and

With all the budget cuts and slashing of positions, it would have been nice to see Dr. Bedden give up that pay incentive raise for the good of the system. Same ole thing in the RC.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 08/06/08 - 07:43 am
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If you are interested in

If you are interested in helping make Richmond County public schools better, you are encouraged to attend the PTA revival on Saturday from noon to 4 PM at the Christenberry Fieldhouse on ASU's Wrightsboro Road campus. Admission is free. Door prizes will be provided. Food will be available. Mayor Copenhaver will help kick-off the proceedings.

426Hemi
0
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426Hemi 08/06/08 - 07:45 am
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If the county commissioners

If the county commissioners and all other elected officials had an ounce of character, as Dr. Bedden seems to have; then this city would not wear the monicker "Disgusta!"

426Hemi
0
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426Hemi 08/06/08 - 07:49 am
0
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BTW. Dr. Larke, how about

BTW. Dr. Larke, how about giving up all those "incentives" to Dr. Bedden. How 'bout it Larke? You were the proverbial leak in the garbage can, that Dr. Bedden is fixing!

justus4
93
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justus4 08/06/08 - 08:11 am
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Bedden: Watch out for these

Unpublished

Bedden: Watch out for these local (All White Media) AWM representatives and others associated with them. (lotta historical connections w/ family members, etc) & those minorities with "confused" loyalities who secretly funnel info to public. They are preparing for an attack, so watch their reports on you. And why do "they" always publish ANY dollar amount associated with your salary? Wow! That will not happen with any of your peers. Why? We know. So, heads up & don't let the green grass fool ya.

aaa
2
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aaa 08/06/08 - 08:14 am
0
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First time I've heard such

First time I've heard such passion and conviction from Dr. Bedden. Maybe Richmond Co Schools have a chance after all! Justus4: grow up, playing the race card is moronic and definitely out of date, old school politics. Get over it, grow up.

kneejackingreactions
0
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kneejackingreactions 08/06/08 - 08:37 am
0
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"Pep" Rally, just what the

"Pep" Rally, just what the school system needs. Another Larke in a different suit. Watch--you will see! Bet he sounded like obama with a well prepared speech --all fluff, no stuffing!

disssman
6
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disssman 08/06/08 - 08:43 am
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Would someone out there

Would someone out there please tell me what his ten point plan for running the system is? I have heard all the comments about we need change but I haven't heard one word of what his plans are. I don't consider a statement such as "We need to better educate.....etc" as a plan. What we need is some definitive substance such as " Teachers that cannot control students will be released" and they need to do it. Please someone out there tell me his specific plans for bringing the RCBOE up to, at least, minimum standards. By the way, the only way to really determine the priority of the system would be to scrutinize their budget. They can say what they want but their budget tells the real priority. Has anyone seen the RCBOE budget, and I dont mean the one page document that says they need $250 mil to operate. I wonder why they are so secretive about it?

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 08/06/08 - 08:44 am
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I just hope after this year

I just hope after this year all the high schools who do not meet AYP, and have been on them 3 to 5 years already with the same principals are FIRED or retire. It's time for a change, especially at Laney.

Concerned Teach
0
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Concerned Teach 08/06/08 - 08:46 am
0
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As long as the school system

As long as the school system doesn't get the support from the community, as KneeJack up here just said, it does make it harder for RCSS to rise to the excellence it can and will be. We have to stay positive, work hard, and many of us in this school system have for years. We need the support of everyone in the county, instead of being so negative all the time, look at the positives the school system does have and instead of sitting around complaining about how bad you think the school system is, get off your rump and help move the school system in a positive direction.

kneejackingreactions
0
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kneejackingreactions 08/06/08 - 08:46 am
0
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Smiling faces------tell lies!

Smiling faces------tell lies! dissman, no crap, let's see a budget breakdown to include individual salaries for all employees, where are you chronicle??

Venus
0
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Venus 08/06/08 - 09:26 am
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First thanks to all the

First thanks to all the sponsor who donated funds for the convocation. Thanks to the Richmond County staff who participated in the event. Talk about an informative event? One thing I will pass on to the public that was not mention in the article was the song performed by one of RC teachers. This young lady has a beautiful voice and was accompanied by one of RC music teachers. She sung Michael Jackson “Man In The Mirror”! For those of you who have forgotten the song here is a taste.

As, I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat this wind is blowin’ my mind. I see the kids in the street with not enough to eat. Who am I, to be blind, pretending not to see their needs. A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top and a one man’s soul. They following each other on the wind ya know, cause they got nowhere to go that’s why I want you to know. I’m starting with the Man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways and no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change. This should be our war cry! “If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change. I’m willing are you!

Rozzie2003
4
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Rozzie2003 08/06/08 - 10:43 am
0
0

Congratulations Dr. Bedden

Congratulations Dr. Bedden for an impressive motivating program yesterday. This is needed also to give the staff something to rally and feel good about kicking off the year. As I have said previously, It is going to take time to move the system forward and show some gains in test scores and decreased disclipine problems. I feel you are the chosen one to improve the schools. I hope you won't become frustrated with the daily burdens. Dr. Bedden, we need new blood, fresh ideas, more committed and dedicated people. We need more creative teachers and administratiors. We need more parential involvement. Teaching is a low status and paying profession. Therefore the profession attracts people who graduate in the lowest quartile of colllege graduates and too many schools of education are degree mills. Therefore , there need to be more in-house training and partnerships. Start a speakers bureau. Send some of your best teachers out in the community to tell the story of the school system. Encourage more teachers to get involve in the community and serve as volunteers and non-profit boards. I met a person last week and and I asked him what is his profession? He said, "I am just a teacher".

Rozzie2003
4
Points
Rozzie2003 08/06/08 - 11:00 am
0
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I told him to be proud that

I told him to be proud that he is a teacher. Since you have partnerships with various businesses, seek financial aid to give some teachers grants to go to some outstanding schools of education or summer workshops. Too many teachers dump meaningless information on children and are dull and boring themselves. Has RCBOE tried Teach For America? If not, this would be an avenue to explore. Dr. Bedden.. You may have to go on recruiting trip yourself to find committed teachers willing to come to Richmond County to show their skills. One superintendent in the mid-west did this and was abled to bring in new blood who motivated the old blood. Wish you well!

jack
10
Points
jack 08/06/08 - 11:29 am
0
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Keep going Dr Bedden. You

Keep going Dr Bedden. You are just what the RC schools needed to bring it out of the mire left by Larke.

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 08/06/08 - 01:37 pm
0
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If I'm not mistaken, the

If I'm not mistaken, the salary of any public school employee is public information. Teachers' salary scales, at any rate, are posted on the web. What's the problem with publishing information that is in the public domain? I read that as the Chronicle celebrating the fact that Dr. B met the benchmarks and got his bonus. Is everyone so wrapped up in the idea that to profit is evil, that to say that someone got a big bonus is seen as some kind of insult? My personal feeling is that Dr. B has gotten better publicity, consistently, than probably anyone in Augusta politics in all the time I've lived here. The Chronicle has given him excellent, positive, supportive press, with positive reporting like this and also on the editorial page. What else could one ask for...

kneejerkenreactions
0
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kneejerkenreactions 08/06/08 - 01:45 pm
0
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Does anyone know eactly what

Does anyone know eactly what Dr bedden has done to warrant all this praise. Can anyone list 5 positive things?

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 08/06/08 - 02:09 pm
0
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I haven't said that he's done

I haven't said that he's done anything one way or the other; others in this space have complained about him getting "bad press," and have warned him that whitey and the race traitors are out to get him...

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 08/06/08 - 02:26 pm
0
0

I hope Laney get's off AYP

I hope Laney get's off AYP next year, it's been 5 straight years under our most notable principal Dr. Welcher, who's only GOOD at descipline. I understand the new assistant princial Mr. Bates will be in charge of descipline now, hmmmmm are they inching Welcher out. Next year I hope for sure because if we are on AYP for the 6th straight year I may have to think twice about Dr. Bedden.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 08/06/08 - 02:31 pm
0
0

the best way to prepare the

the best way to prepare the schools for battle is to have a zero tolerance for any kind of disrespect towards any school employee, have a dress code or uniform mandate, if a child does not want to learn send them home to their parents, set high expectations that school's PRIMARY FUNCTION is to EDUCATE, not to play sports, socialize or be a child care agency. by taking a no-nonsense approach and make EDUCATION THE TOP PRIORITY richmond county will win the battle and the WAR!!! there will be more accountability, smaller class sizes and money enuff to what is needed to EDUCATE without having to GUT THE POOR HOMEOWNER every year while under the guise of "FOR THE CHILDREN"

kneejerkenreactions
0
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kneejerkenreactions 08/06/08 - 02:57 pm
0
0

I was not referring to you

I was not referring to you John Smith. I am referring to all the accolades and no accomplishments. In fact, worse in practically every measurable factor!

ee8
0
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ee8 08/06/08 - 03:17 pm
0
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RC BOE. One middle school

RC BOE. One middle school comes off of AYP and everything is just peachy. Always celebrating something that should be a given. Dr. Bedden is taking a good approach, but lets be real the majority of RC schools (not including magnet schools) suck!! RC is much like a lot of school systems including Columbia and Aiken; too many Asst. Supt. that should be out in the schools holding the administrations accountable. The school board should hold Dr. Bedden and his Asst. Supt.'s accountable. Voters, taxpayers, parents and the community at large should hold those board members accountable. That's what should happen. I haven't seen the entire scenario workout for them. So send your kids to private school and just laugh when you hear about bomb threats and not meeting AYP. Private institutions don't deal with such. They actually have interactive parents, enthusiastic students and there is no AVP.

ee8
0
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ee8 08/06/08 - 03:25 pm
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Oops!!!!! I meant AYP.

Oops!!!!! I meant AYP. Another Year [filtered word] away.

kneejerkenreactions
0
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kneejerkenreactions 08/06/08 - 03:28 pm
0
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Come on folks, no one out

Come on folks, no one out there can give me five measurable, positive accomplishments dr bedden has made this past school year???????? Don't everyone comment at once!

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