Let­ter to the Ed­i­tor

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The power of words. Do we build oth­ers up, or do we tear oth­ers down? Much has been made re­cently of the Gor­don County School Sys­tem low­er­ing stan­dards. Ac­tu­ally through the state ap­proved waiver process, STAN­DARDS HAVE BEEN IN­CREASED. In years past, qual­i­fi­ca­tions for lead­er­ship po­si­tions in schools were based on ad­vanced cer­tifi­cates, which was fine be­fore all the em­pha­sis on test­ing and stu­dent per­for­mance. To­day school prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals must still know school law, dis­ci­pline, etc., but they also must know qual­ity in­struc­tion to ef­fec­tively mon­i­tor it and to con­vey qual­ity in­struc­tion when a teacher needs as­sis­tance for stu­dents to reach their po­ten­tial. Many teach­ers have these qual­ity in­struc­tional skills but lack the lead­er­ship cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Thus, State ap­proved char­ter sys­tems are pro­vid­ing the waiver to al­low teach­ers with proven in­struc­tional and stu­dent suc­cess to ap­ply for lead­er­ship po­si­tions, but they must com­plete their lead­er­ship cer­ti­fi­ca­tion within three years. Think about it, the pool of pos­si­ble can­di­date ap­pli­ca­tions has now in­creased and at the same time the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of know­ing and con­vey­ing qual­ity in­struc­tion has ac­tu­ally RAISED THE STAN­DARDS.

Sev­eral years ago Gor­don County Schools im­ple­mented the in­struc­tional coach pro­gram - helping teach­ers with ef­fec­tive class­room prac­tices to el­e­vate learn­ing and stu­dent per­for­mance. Un­der the lead­er­ship of Dr. Su­san Remil­lard this pro­gram has grown to in­clude aca­demic coaches in all schools; and boy has it worked! The in­struc­tional coach pro­gram has be­come a prepara­tory step in pro­vid­ing qual­ity lead­ers in the school district. Many of the prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals who have led the charge in ad­vanc­ing aca­demic achieve­ment for Gor­don County Schools have come from this pro­gram: Amy Bea­son, SES Prin­ci­pal; Debra Brock, RBES Prin­ci­pal; Mon­ica Holt, RBES As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal; and Shel­ley Allen, As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal at W.L. Swain to name a few. If prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals have these same skills then the work for qual­ity in­struc­tion sup­port in the school has dou­bled or tripled. Take a look at the test scores of our schools – the proof is in the pud­ding!

The ed­i­to­rial in the Cal­houn Times, May 19, mis­rep­re­sented our schools, teach­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors, board mem­bers, and su­per­in­ten­dent. We are not in a mess and cer­tainly not shady. Not only do pub­li­ca­tions like this mis­lead our com­mu­nity but neg­a­tively im­pact the morale of stu­dents, ed­u­ca­tors and ac­tu­ally the Gor­don County com­mu­nity.

I just learned five com­pa­nies vis­ited Gor­don County two weeks ago con­sid­er­ing Gor­don County as a po­ten­tial res­i­dence. Can you guess two of the in­for­ma­tional items they re­quested? They asked for lo­cal news­pa­pers and in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing lo­cal schools. I can only hope they did not read the ed­i­to­rial sec­tion. The words we use are so pow­er­ful, not only af­fect­ing us in­di­vid­u­ally but the eco­nomic de­ploy­ment and qual­ity of life both present and future. Po­ten­tial res­i­dents and jobs may have been lost with the tear-down words of the May 19 ed­i­to­rial.

We should do all we can to en­cour­age our stu­dents, teach­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors and elected of­fi­cials. Com­ple­ment them of the good they are do­ing but also ex­press con­cerns as well – do­ing this re­spect­fully.

God has blessed us in Gor­don County with qual­ity of life but re­spon­si­bil­ity comes with these bless­ings. One be­ing truth­ful­ness, an­other is treat­ing oth­ers as you would like to be treated. Let us choose our words care­fully and truth­fully.

Gor­don County has two fine school sys­tems, with two ex­tra­or­di­nary su­per­in­ten­dents and Boards of Ed­u­ca­tion. I am very im­pressed with all the highly qual­i­fied lead­er­ship within our schools and of­fices. Let’s en­cour­age one an­other with truth and respect. Not easy to pray for folks that mis­rep­re­sent you, but it’s the right thing to do. The Power of Words – choose the HIGHER STAN­DARD. Re­spect­fully, Skip­per and Brenda Stewart

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