State Su­per­in­ten­dent sees ‘op­por­tu­nity’ at New­ton High

The Covington News - - LOCAL - DUANE M. FORD news@cov­

Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and State School Su­per­in­ten­dent Richard Woods vis­ited New­ton High School on Aug. 22. His pur­pose was to tour and learn about the school, lis­ten to the suc­cesses and con­cerns of school of­fi­cials and stu­dents, and learn how the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion can bet­ter serve Ge­or­gia’s schools.

Sa­man­tha Fuhrey, New­ton County School Sys­tem (NCSS) Su­per­in­ten­dent; John El­len­berg, New­ton High School Prin­ci­pal; Dave Bel­ton, Dis­trict 112 State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive; NCSS Board of Ed­u­ca­tion mem­bers Trey Bai­ley, Shak­ila Hen­der­son-Baker, and Abi­gail Cog­gin; and the thirty-two stu­dent mem­bers of Ram­bas­sadors were among those who wel­comed Woods to New­ton High School.

El­len­berg and six Ram­bas­sadorS led the tour with each Ram­bas­sador re­spon­si­ble for a seg­ment.

Af­ter­wards, when asked for his im­pres­sions, Woods said “The amount of op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents at New­ton High School is as­tro­nom­i­cal. Many schools would be en­vi­ous. I par­tic­u­larly like the school’s ap­proach to de­vel­op­ing the whole child.”

Asked when the New­ton County School Sys­tem might re­ceive a de­ci­sion re­gard­ing its re­quest to change test­ing sys­tems from the Ge­or­gia Mile­stones As­sess­ment Sys­tem to the Iowa As­sess­ments, Woods re­ported that the re­quest is un­der dis­cus­sion at the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion. Those dis­cus­sions in­volve the De­part­ment’s test­ing co­or­di­na­tor and he ex­pects a de­ci­sion will be forth­com­ing in Oc­to­ber.

In a fol­low-up in­ter­view, Dr. Al­li­son Jor­dan, Di­rec­tor of Test­ing, Re­search and Eval­u­a­tion for New­ton County School Sys­tem, said that to her knowl­edge the New­ton School Sys­tem has not yet re­ceived a re­sponse from the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and was un­aware of a time­line for a de­ci­sion on the Sys­tem’s re­quest to change test­ing sys­tems.

Sum­ma­riz­ing how test­ing has gone through­out Ge­or­gia, Woods said, “It’s been an over­all good year for test­ing,” but added that test­ing will con­tinue to evolve, say­ing “I don’t know what test­ing will look like in the fu­ture.”

The Ram­bas­sadors in­volved in show­ing Woods around the school were Jarvis Hawkins who cov­ered ath­let­ics; Ram­bas­sadorS Sec­re­tary Tay­lor Un­der­wood, fine arts; Ciara Sanders, me­dia cen­ter; Ram­bas­sadors Vice-Pres­i­dent Daniella Cof­fee, sci­ence and so­cial sci­ence; Kiara Aman­cio, English lan­guage arts; and Zackary Fal­lah, Academy of Lib­eral Arts at New­ton High School. Woods talked to these stu­dents at length, ask­ing about the Ram­bas­sadorS pro­gram as well as their lead­er­ship and personal in­volve­ment.

Over the next two months, State Su­per­in­ten­dent Woods will be lead­ing a se­ries of town hall meet­ings on the “Ev­ery Stu­dent Suc­ceeds Act.” That act gov­erns Fed­eral ele­men­tary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy. It was passed last year and re­placed the “No Child Left Behind Act.” The town hall meet­ings will be at eight lo­ca­tions around Ge­or­gia, with the clos­est to Cov­ing­ton be­ing Sept. 14, 6-8 p.m., at Ful­ton County, North Learn­ing Cen­ter, 450 Northridge Park­way, At­lanta.

Sub­mit­ted photo | The Cov­ing­ton News

State Su­per­in­ten­dent Woods (mid­dle) with the Ram­bas­sadors who led him through New­ton High School. Left to right: Jarvis Hawkins; Ciara San­ders; Tay­lor Un­der­wood; Woods; Kiara Aman­cio; Zackary Fal­lah; and Daniella Cof­fee.

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