Louisville Academy recognized as Title One school
• School awarded more than $59,000 for its accomplishmentsater discovered in creek
By Ben Nelms
Louisville Academy has long been known as a good school. That reputation was enhanced recently when the school was recognized as a 2004 Title 1 Distinguished School and awarded more than $59,000.
Based on its accomplishments during the past four consecutive years of the standards-based Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) assessment, Louisville Academy was one of only nine schools in the Central Savannah River Area to receive the award. The monetary benefit will be used to sponsor a nationally recognized mathematics workshop in June.
Though being recognized is an honor for Louisville Academy, Principal Hulet Kitterman said it is a result of the ongoing effort to make a positive difference in the life of every child at the school. Played out in practical terms, Louisville Academy starts with the basics as a foundation to build an outlook that students can take with them on their journey through life.
"We write every day in every subject. And we start research in the 1st grade," she said emphatically. "We don't do this to compete for awards. What happens today impacts our children and our grandchildren. The focus is on what happens with that child at age 18, 25 and 35. We have to do what's right for children to help them become productive adults. The expectation for every child is the same. We have to implement different strategies to get there, but the expectation is that every child will succeed."
That viewpoint is reinforced with the belief that the school's mission is to work in tandem with the faith community, businesses and in every aspect of county life, Kitterman said.
Title 1 Distinguished schools that met the AYP for four consecutive years and qualified for a monetary award received between $19,764 -$59,300 depending on poverty level and based on criteria such as free or reduced school meals. Criteria involved in meeting AYP relates to factors such as scores determined by the testing of at least 95 percent of each ethnic subgroup and special education classes and whether 90 percent of students missed a maximum of 15 school days per year.
The award money will be used to fund a five-day workshop in June presented by the Marilyn Burns Math Solutions program, said Kitterman. A nationally recognized organization based in Sausalito, California, the program is designed to assist teachers in improving the way they teach mathematics in grades K-8. The program enhances teachers' skills in implementing standards-based math instruction, developing students' skills and abilities to think and reason mathematically, bolstering student's enjoyment of math while increasing their understanding and confidence, assessing learning and enhancing communication with parents about their child's math instruction.
"The workshop will provide specific strategies to enhance our Best Practices," Kitterman said. "We want to lay a strong foundation for math concepts and problem solving in the early grades so that we can integrate math more fully into our students lives."
The workshop will be open to all Louisville Academy teachers and paraprofessionals and others within the school system.
As a part of the school improvement plan, faculty and administrators look at test data and student performance to help determine the focus of their efforts, said Kitterman. Not lost in a world of criteria-based requirements are the students and their futures as members of their communities.
"Our purpose here is beyond getting a certain set of test scores," she said. "Sometimes we have to take a hit on things like test scores, but it's just more important to teach children to read and write and problem solve so they can get a vision for the world and for what's important and what will be important in their lives."
Kitterman said along with teachers, the school's paraprofessionals are highly skilled, providing instructional support and one-on-one tutorials. Imbedded in each student's potential for achieving success is a worldview that has become a maxim for every participatory management model in use today. That maxim insists that the only way to make a difference is to be the difference.
"The teachers believe their job is to make a difference," said Kitterman. "The staff determines the success of an organization. Here, everybody takes ownership, teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, kitchen staff. Everyone."
Avera extends water lines, increases capacity
• Water project largely funded by $352,000 state grant
By Ben Nelms
Looking to its present needs and to the future, the City of Avera began a process two years ago that resulted today in an upgrade of its water system obtained from a $352,000 state grant. The city received a state-sponsored grant to convert its two-inch water lines to six-inch lines and install 20 additional hydrants.
Mayor Tommy Sheppard said the city council voted two years ago to apply for the grant. Though it took a while the wait was worth it, he said. Census 2000 lists Avera with a population of 217, but Sheppard said the town has added a few more people since then.
"I'm glad we got it. We couldn't afford to do the work otherwise," he said. "It was time to upgrade. We've got people moving back into the area and we have more and more people wanting water service."
He added that the new water lines, extending approximately one mile from the city limits in every direction, also include the upgrading of some of the lines inside city limits.
Looking to the future, Sheppard said the expansion will accomplish two purposes.
"People are looking for a place to live and we want to accommodate them," he said. "So why not expand the system and get the revenue. Increased revenue helps keep the price of water down."
The grant came through Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA).
"This program represents a tangible commitment on the part of state government to assist local governments across the state in their efforts to provide water improvements that are so important to public health and safety and the community's desire to prosper economically," said GEFA Executive Director Paul Burks.
County halts progress on construction/demolition landfill
• Resident brings attention to fact that meeting and notification regulations have not been met
By Ben Nelms
Addressing commissioners, Louisville resident Geary Davis said he used the Georgia Open Records Law to obtain a copy of the county's Feb. 9 application to convert the inert landfill for organic items such as limbs and leaves to a Construction and Demolition (C&D) landfill.
He said the county's action in the matter was improper given that state rules require that the public should first be notified of the decision through publication in the local newspaper and that public hearing must be held.
In statements during and after the meeting, Davis questioned why the decision to permit the site would have been made and whether the local volume of construction and demolition work would necessitate opening a C&D facility.
Davis said he was also alarmed with the commission's decision to make the conversion from inert to C&D given the cost involved with the operation and in face of the numerous environmental issues facing the county today.
"Why go ahead with the permitting process without letting the public know about it and without getting public input," said Davis. "Some of the commissions in surrounding counties are fighting for their residents against C&D and solid waste landfills that large waste companies are trying to establish. Expansions just open the door for outside waste. Shouldn't our commissioners be aware of that and shouldn't they be fighting for us?"
At issue is Chapter 391-3-4, Section 3, of Georgia's Solid Waste Rules, which states that upon submission of an application the county must publish a notice of the application in a newspaper serving the county and post the notice at the courthouse within 15 days of the date the application was submitted. Additionally, a public hearing must be conducted not less than two weeks prior to the issuance of a permit.
Contacted after the meeting, county administrator Paul Bryan said the county was following the process outlined by landfill consulting engineers Chasman & Associates. Chasman representative Walt Sanders said he advised the county based on conversations with EPD representatives in Atlanta.
Jeff Cowan, with EPD's Land Protection Branch said Friday the agency does not associate specific timelines with the waste needs and site location meetings, though timelines do apply on other aspects of the permitting process.
He added that the county was responsible for complying with notification of the public within 15 days of the date the application was submitted. Failure to comply required that the permit be resubmitted, with the result of delaying approval of the permit, he said.
Bryan said Tuesday he contacted Cowan and instructed him to withdraw the county's permit application.
"We want to ensure that all meeting and notification requirements are met and that all policies and regulations are followed," he said. "I feel that we had acted in good faith but at times had not received good information relating to the procedures."
A check of commission meeting catalogued on the independent website www.jeffersoncountygeorgia.org showed that commissioners had previously discussed converting the inert landfill to a C&D landfill to decrease the amount of waste entering the Municipal Solid Waste Landfill.
The issue was discussed at the Nov. 12, 2002, regular session. A 5-0 vote was taken to table the move. The matter was not brought up again until surfaced by Davis at the March 9 regular session after obtaining a copy of the permit.