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Dooly School Board Celebrates “Board Appreciation Day”

By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

The Dooly County Board of Education members heard kudos from different schools and educational groups in celebration of School Board Appreciation Week.

“School board members, there aren’t enough words to say how much you are appreciated,” said Dooly County Superintendent of Schools Craig Lockhart. “What’s ironic is this time last year, everything closed down. We weren’t able to celebrate School Board Appreciation Week. We were scrambling to set up a virtual meeting. We had to start feeding students, finding devices for them to use, Wi-Fi services, trying to manage in-person and virtual training and you supported me and the school system as we went through that process. I would argue that we had one of the safest, best pandemic responses anywhere. I am constantly hearing about other school systems — metropolitan systems — that are looking for things like our water fountains; our laptops, they are no longer in supply because we were smart enough to get these things early. We were able to forecast and your vision allowed us to take care of these kids.”

Lockhart reminded the board that last year there was no strategic plan.

“We have a plan now,” he said. “We are right on track to be where we want to be.”

Curriculum director Sharron Marcus briefed the board on how students are faring academically

“I want o give you an instructional update,” she said. “To tell you how our students are performing; how our teachers are growing and developing; about our interventions; about any learning loss due to Covid.

“All of our principals are here and will join in the presentation,” Marcus said. “A lot has changed since I spoke with you last year.”

Marcus said she and the principals work as a team to make sure they are meeting the goals to provide the opportunity for students to succeed.

“We successfully adjusted our model during the pandemic. Our teachers did a major pivot to handle the adversity and they weren’t just surviving; they were thriving.”

Each principal gave a presentation showing a quantitative analysis showing, warts and all, of their academic achievement. Although every discipline showed improvement, some, especially math needed improvement.

Board member Corey Jones wondered if some of the language scores were lower due to the number of non-English speaking students in the system.

Marcus replied that it made a small difference, but the system had embarked on a mission to create programs and courses of study that would bring these students up to their full potential.

“Well, we have our target,” Lockhart said. “Now we need to go out and make it work.”

The Dooly County Board of Education will meet on Thursday, April 15 at 6pm at the School Board headquarters, 202 Cotton Street, Vienna, Georgia.