Troup County School System Hosts Special Meeting

Tuesday, January 17, the Troup County School System held a special meeting as four new board members took an oath of office and the Head Chairman and Vice Chairman positions were chosen.

Brandon Brooks, Kirk Hancock, Cathy Hunt, and Joe Franklin were sworn in to their new positions by Troup County Probate Court’s Judge Donald W. Boyd. Ted Alford was nominated and reelected as Chairman of the Troup County School Board while Reverend Allen Simpson was nominated and reelected as Vice Chairman.

“I promise to do the best job I know how, and I am always open to suggestions,” said Alford.

Following the special portion of Tuesday’s meeting, on Thursday, January 19, the board chose to pass the newer Board Member Code of Ethics & Conflict of Interest.

Chairman Ted Alford had stood as the Troup County Board of Education’s Representative for the Troup County Parks & Recreation Commission Board and wanted to continue holding this position, so Dr. Pugh encouraged the board to remember his position request. On Thursday, he was re-elected to this role.

January 19 was also the time to appoint the Legislative Liaison for 2017; Kirk Hancock was recommended for this position and chosen by the board.

Next on the agenda, Karen Cagle gave the Curriculum & Instruction Report. She announced that the Social Studies and Science curriculums are preparing for big changes in Troup County. She asked several academic coaches from schools all across the county to speak on their training, experiences, and hopes for the new curriculum programs.

The Georgia Standards of Excellence are evolving.

Students were once taught to simply understand the facts of a science experiment, but, with this new program, students are expected to plan and carry out their own investigations, interpret their data to make predictions, and construct personal explanations.

“[The] depth of knowledge is changing,” explained the academic coaches from the science field. “Core content has stayed the same, but the way they obtain the information is different.”

For the Social Studies curriculum, students will be expected to do more than memorize random facts. They will investigate history to find their own answers. This program will incorporate more technology and focus more on student involvement rather than teachers’ lectures.

Social Studies will no longer be what the academic coaches call a “trivial pursuit”. “It’s a lot more than memorizing the facts,” they explained.

These new programs hope to make the teacher more of a “facilitator” than a monotonous lecturer. More of the English Language Arts will be interwoven into both curriculums as well.

After the academic coaches presented their information to the board, Cagle then asked board members to consider allowing one teacher leader per grade (from 3-12 grade), with an additional two teachers, to be trained at the Georgia Center for Assessment to begin implementing these programs.

Additional funds for training teachers and extra supplies for more hands-on learning will be requested of the board.

After Cagle and the academic coaches made their presentation, Sequita Freeman presented the board with the Human Resources Report.

Freeman reported an overall increase in the number of employees for the Troup County School System. Human Resources hopes to reach their goal to maximize efficiency and productivity in pursuit of the system’s mission. They want all employees within the county’s school system to understand all of the perks and policies that come with employment.

Currently, Human Resources is looking for employees who fit student demographics. They are providing their employment information on social media while hosting job fairs too. “[We hope] to attract the best and the brightest of Troup County,” said Freeman.

Once Freeman gave the employment report, she discussed the impact of the Communities in Schools program. She, along with Executive Director Tabitha Coverson, explained the many ways this program hopes to change the staggering statistic that every year, 20,000 students drop out of Georgia schools.

Next, Byron Jones presented the Financial Report to the board.

This is year 5 of SPLOST 4, and Jones was excited to report that SPLOST 5 was recently voted in.

Along with Jones’ need for an approval of the monthly Financial Report, an overall 2% raise across the state was discussed regarding the personal costs for Troup County. Jones estimated an additional one million dollars needed for this increased raise.

John Radcliffe then discussed the monthly field trips needing approval from the board as well as plans to paint Callaway High School and Long Cane Middle School. The motion to approve the painting of these two schools was passed.

Radcliffe also discussed an upcoming Approval of Intergovernmental Agreement – a collaboration with Sheriff James Woodruff to discuss placing cameras on the outside of school buses to send citations to those who illegally pass school buses. The board unanimously passed this agreement.

After Radcliffe’s reports, the Consent Agenda was discussed and the meeting was adjourned.

Peyton Hanners Staff Writer