Letter to the Editor
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