State Superintendent sees ‘opportunity’ at Newton High
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.
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.