By KATIE GRIFFIN
Dr. April Howard was formally announced as the new superintendent of Jackson County Schools at a called Sept. 12 meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education.
Everyone clapped and smiled as Dr. Howard was welcomed to her new position. She had been serving in an interim capacity since the resignation of Dr. John Green in May.
“I’m sincerely honored and humbled to accept this position in such a wonderful school system,” said Dr. Howard.
“She’ll do great, I promise,” said board vice chairman Tim Brooks.
The board then brought attention to the agenda where the recommendation to approve a maximum class size waiver for the 2013-2014 school year was approved.
Because the state of Georgia continues to experience a downturn in economy, which directly affects the amount of tax dollars brought into the school systems, the Georgia General Assembly was unable to appropriate funds to pay for the current statutory class size. So the Jackson County Board of Education authorizes Dr. Howard to increase the class size maximums to exceed the current requirements as set by the State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-08 by one to five students in the following classes:
Grades K-12 in Regular Education, English Language Learners, students in Gifted, Early Intervention Program, Remedial Education Program, students in Vocational, Alternative Education Program and Special Education Classes.
Also on the agenda was the recommendation to the board to approve a Standards Based Report Card Waiver for the 2013-2014 school year.
Over the past eight years, the Jackson County School System has researched, piloted and implemented standards based assessment and reporting to coincide with the effective implantation of the Georgia Performance Standards and the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS).
Parents, students, teachers, school and district leaders have been a part of this process. As a result, Jackson County Schools would like to fully implement Standards Based Report Cards in kindergarten through fifth grade. Assessment aligned to standards focused on the promotion of student learning has been a catalyst for parents, students and teachers to focus more on learning and growing and less on evaluation.
In place of the number grades, Jackson County Schools wishes to assess standards using performance indicators. Student progress will be reported in the form of the letters DNM- Does Not Meet, IP- In Progress, M- Meets Standards, E- Exceeds Standards. Students who have demonstrated growth but are still not meeting standards based on locally developed common assessments will be promoted if they meet standards on the Criterion Reference Competency Test.