Every week, Danielsville Police Department Captain Jonathan Burnette makes a trip over to Danielsville Elementary School to deliver school supplies, along with T-shirts, socks, shampoo and other personal items to Principal Angie Waggoner to give to students in need.
From there, Waggoner and school counselors distribute the items where they are most needed, some at Danielsville, while other items are sent to the county’s five other elementary schools.
This is all part of “Operation Backpack,” a program started in January by Burnette, who approached Chief Brenan Baird and the Danielsville City Council with his idea.
“I just think as a police officer, we should do more than just write tickets and I wanted to find a way to have a positive impact on the community, especially with the children,” Burnette said. “If we can do that, then we are really doing our jobs.”
The primary donators to the project are probationers with the Northern Judicial Circuit Probation Office in Danielsville.
In cooperation with the probation office, probationers are offered the option to “write off” some of their fines/fees and community service by purchasing school supplies.
Chief Baird says the probationers turn in their receipts to the probation office to get the reductions. The reduction rate is based on a 40-hour work week at minimum wage. [Full Story »]
Senior Matthew Stephen Brantley has been named this year’s STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) student for Madison County High School.
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce honored Brantley at its February Chamber Coffee, sponsored by EMC Security and Progressive Realty.
The coffee was held at the MCHS culinary arts center. Brantley chose MCHS language arts teacher Trent Wilkes as his STAR teacher. The STAR award is presented each year to a top academic senior in each participating Georgia high school.
The student must have the highest score in one sitting on the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) taken through the November test date of their senior year and be in the top ten percent or among the top ten students in their class.
Foothills Education Charter High School, one of a number of charter schools that have sprung up in the region as an alternative way to increase graduation rates, is thriving in its second year on the Madison County High School campus.
The school, unlike the “regular” high school, has classes Monday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m. and is for any student who may have struggled along the way in the traditional school setting, or who just wants to get the classes that they need to complete high school, sometimes while also part of the Move On When Ready program that allows them to take college courses at the same time.
The school is SACS-accredited and students are able to graduate and get a diploma, something many of them may have given up on had not they not been offered this alternative.
Most of the approximately 125 students who attend Foothills are former MCHS students, but some are also from Oglethorpe County and a few from other areas, such as Elberton.
“We can take students from anywhere,” said Michelle Garrison, one of two guidance counselors at the school. Garrison also teaches seventh grade language arts at the middle school.
Foothills is a public school like any other, Garrison points out, it is not an “alternative school” nor a GED program.
The school also offers the same classes, with a few significant differences. For one thing, it provides much more flexibility to students who may have jobs or children of their own to care for during the day. Another big difference the curriculum is one-on-one computer-based where students work at their own pace in smaller class settings with courses tailored to meet their needs. Teachers are always on hand and ready to assist them when needed.
Garrison said the school is also adding tutors for one on one coaching and there are mentors who meet with students once a week to provide encouragement and motivation. “They’ve really done a tremendous job,” Garrison said of the mentors.
Graduation ceremonies, complete with cap and gown are held twice each year.
Student Sage Cash is a senior at Foothills this year and has been a student there since it opened. Quiet and reserved, Cash said he likes that there is not as much “fluff” as regular high school and that he can move through his course work at his own pace. [Full Story »]
As the world seems to dissolve into a state of fractiousness and ever more uncertainty, as fear and hate seem to have the upper hand and the divide between we humans grows ever wider, I feel the need to hold out my hand to whoever will take it. We need each other more than ever.
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The school system is gearing up for the E-SPLOST referendum vote, scheduled for March 21 at the new elections office on Rock Quarry Road. Early voting begins Feb. 27 and runs through March 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The one-cent sales tax referendum extends the current one-cent sales tax and if approved, will fund continued bond payments on the recent high school construction and renovations at Comer Elementary.
Superintendent Allen McCannon told the board of education Tuesday night that by using the E-SPLOST funds for capital improvements, the millage rate on property taxes has remained stable at 16.99 since 2007.
He said based on current projections the majority of the funds will have to be used to continue paying for previous construction, not new construction. He said any additional funds collected over the bond payments could be used for items that will be listed on the ballot (such as a fine arts center).
“Based on current projections, the chance of generating substantial funds over the required payments is unlikely,” he said.
McCannon said if the E-SPLOST is not approved, the school system would have to find additional revenue, likely through an increase in property taxes. [Full Story »]
I can still remember my kids running to the front door from outside calling “It’s Mr. Scott! It’s Mr. Scott!” and looking out the window to see Mr. Conolus Scott’s old white work truck pulling into our yard, the kids running out to meet him. He might be on his way home, but he sometimes made time to come in and sit a spell and have a glass of sweet tea.
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