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Dooly BOE faces suspension

By BECKY CRISSMAN
becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

VIENNA — The State Baord of Education announced recently they will hold a hearing in November to decide the fate of the members of Dooly County’s Board of Education.
The board faces a possible suspension from their elected seats after AdvancedED placed the system on a “Accredited under review status,” meaning the district is in danger of losing its accreditation.
The state board will meet on November 5 in Atlanta to decide whether or not to suspend the board with pay.
According to a spokesperson from the state BOE the hearing is required in these type of situations.
The AvancedEd team visited the district in April. Superintendent Dr. Grady Miles had been terminated from his position and Assitant Superintendent Julie Harrelson was appointed.
Some of the findings of the commission included:
“Students at the secondary level expressed negative attitudes regarding classroom lessons and low expectations communicated by teachers.”
“Students were off-task and on their phones during observations at the secondary level. Teachers gave directions while students talked among themselves and interacted socially.”
“Computers were not working in some classrooms and common areas of the school… In other classrooms, computers were found to be turned off or used only by teachers as projectors. Teachers did not display a strong familiarity with or thoughtful use of technology.”
“Students and teachers stated that rules and consequences are unfairly and inconsistently enforced.”
“Parents stated during interviews that the students in Dooly County are academically behind and at a disadvantage when going to college.”
“Students and staff members explained in their interviews that the discipline plans are not executed consistently… Some staff shared that it is difficult to enforce the dress code when not everyone is doing so consistently. Parents reported that students are often disrespectful to staff members and that staff members are sometimes disrespectful to students. Students received a mixed message about what is expected of them, and the situation is such that safety becomes an issue.”
“The system is understaffed with unfilled positions… and school building leaders who indicate that they are ‘interim principals.’ Unfilled positions and the interim status of others reinforce the instability of change and the mistrust which is present in the system. Stakeholders describe the school system as ‘unsettled’ and ‘chaotic.’ ”
“The system has been in an almost constant state of change over the past several years.”
“One staff member stated the system could be likened to ‘a child in a house when parents are fighting.'”
“Investigation showed that the system is characterized by the lack of trust among staff, parents and community members. Community members perceive that board members run for office as ‘single persons with single agendas’ and they state there is no place for this on a school board. One community member described the board as being ‘over active’ and not understanding the chain of command.”

“Parents and staff members reported in the interviews that the course descriptions at the high school and the grading procedures are not clear. Teachers report that they do no understand how some of the grades are calculated, and this makes it difficult to explain grading results to parents.”
(NOTE: Findings courtesy of WMAZ-13).
If they district loses its accreditation it will make it virtually impossible for students to attend college because colleges only accept transcripts from accredited schools. The district would also lose funding.
In a letter to the district AdvancedEd said the school district should draw up a progress report on making changes and host an on-site progress review.