Students go back to class
By Faye Ellison
Amidst hugs and goodbyes, parents and students let go and let live with the beginning of a new school year.
Doors at Jefferson and Glascock county's schools are beginning to open to let students back in.
Glascock County began their new school year on Monday, Aug. 2. School runs from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. According to Elizabeth Hadden, there are about 630 students enrolled in Glascock County Consolidated Schools this year.
Thomas Jefferson Academy held their Open House on Tuesday to get ready for school which began with a half day on Wednesday, Aug. 4 and a full day on Thursday, Aug. 5. Regular days runs from 8 a.m.-2:36 p.m.
Headmaster Chuck Wimberly said the school plans to have 280 students returning on Wednesday.
Wimberly also said that the school is offering new courses including pre-calculus, general math, practical math, health, print media and economics.
Jefferson County School System started their school year on Monday, Aug. 9. Elementary School runs from 8:15 a.m.-3 p.m., Middle School is from 7:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. and Jefferson County High School holds classes from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Jefferson County Director of Curriculum Donnie Hodges said that the two biggest changes to expect this year are the two grants that the school system has received, the $1 million "Reading First" grant and the $139,000 received in grants for math and technology.
The "Reading First" grant was given to Carver Elementary School in Wadley and Wrens Elementary School. The monies were used to hire literacy coaches and to find ways to get parents more involved in their child's academic life.
The Title I Distinguished School Award and a Title II Math Technology Grant were given to Louisville Academy for advancement in math and technology.
Also new developments within physically within the schools are something for teachers and students to look forward to.
Funds from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) have helped bring a new life to every school building in the county. Whether it is the adding of new rooms, facilities, roof work and replacement of flooring gave a new beginning to the schools.
Dr. Hodges said that they are preparing for about 3,300 students to return this year, which includes Pre-K. According to Hodges, that is almost the same as last year.
Five of six schools make AYP
• Most Jefferson County schools showed significant improvement over last year's resultssays
By Ben Nelms
The scores are in and the results showed significant improvement in test scores in Jefferson County public schools during the 2003-2004 school year.
Five of the six schools in the system and the system itself made the required Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 2003-2004. Results for grades 3-5 at the county's three elementary schools and grades 6-8 at the two middle schools were based on test scores on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in reading, English language arts and math. High school proficiency was determined by student's scores on the Georgia Enhanced Graduation Tests in English, language arts and math.
A number of significant findings relating to Jefferson County schools accompanied the volume of information in the July 28 report released by state school Superintendent Kathy Cox. In the report, Cox noted that Wadley's Carver Magnet/Theme Elementary School experienced a 24.6 percent increase in scores for 2003-2004, a feat bested by only 17 other schools in Georgia. Carver was one of 30 schools statewide recognized as Georgia's Outstanding Achievement Schools.
Other significant assessment outcomes included Louisville Academy achieving the status of a Title 1 Distinguished School by making AYP for the fifth consecutive year while Wrens Elementary received the same honor after making AYP for three consecutive years. Wrens Middle School and Jefferson County High School met the criteria for AYP for 2003-2004, an improvement over the 2002-2003 school year.
Assessed on system-wide criteria, the school system as a whole also made AYP in 2003-2004. Louisville Middle School came within a small fraction of making AYP, making significant progress by meeting 10 of the 11 required criteria. The only category where progress was not fully satisfied was the area of Students with Disabilities.
The measurable objectives included in the overall AYP methodology call for increasing proficiency in student test scores over the next decade. Contingent upon improving test scores is the requirement that 95 percent of all students participate.
Sixty percent of students taking the CRCT tests in reading/language arts were required to show proficiency, increasing to 66.7 percent in 2004-2007 and increasing to 73.3 percent between 2007-2010.
The required percentages continue to increase to 80 percent in 2010-2011 and on to a required 100 percent of all students in 2013-2014. A similar standard exists for CRCT math tests. The 2003-2004 criteria of 50 percent proficiency increases to 58.3 percent for 2004-2007, 66.7 percent in 2007-2010, climbs to 75 percent in 2010-2011 and on to a mandatory 100 percent of all students in 2013-2014.
The statewide proficiency criteria for the Georgia High School Graduation Test is also set to climb over the next decade. Criteria for the 2004-2005 school year in English/language arts is set at 81.6 percent while the proficiency criteria for math is set at 62.3 percent. Curriculum Director Donnie Hodges said that the required percentages will increase to 100 percent for each test during the next 10 years, though the year by year percentages have not been established at this time.
Superintendent Carl Bethune praised the assessment outcomes, adding that the efforts of staff throughout the school system display an attitude of commitment and excellence now and in the future.
"We are particularly proud of the dramatic improvements we made in all areas," he said. "I believe that these accomplishments reflect the dedication and hard work of our teachers and school administrators. We are making steady progress on all fronts with all students. We have the goals and programs in place to support all students in our school system. We are committed to provide every student with the best education possible."
The AYP determination is a part of the federal No Child Left Behind program that became law in 2002.
The aim of the program is to provide an overall system for improving student achievement.
The three goals comprising the law include ensuring that all students, including those from low-income families, minority populations and students with disabilities do well, holding schools responsible if all children do not perform well and ensuring that there is a highly qualified teacher in every classroom.
Two-month-old treated for heat exhaustion after freed from car, now in custody of county DFACS
By Ben Nelms
The grandmother and great uncle of a two month-old girl were charged August 3 with cruelty to children after they left the infant unattended in a car on Broad Street in Louisville.
Annie Mae Thompson, 45, and Robert Robinson, 41, both of Keysville, were charged with felony cruelty to children in the incident, according to Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller.
Paramedics subsequently treated the infant for heat exhaustion. She is currently in custody of Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services (DFACS).
The incident occurred at approximately 1 p.m. in downtown Louisville. Thompson entered a Broad Street business while Robinson checked in with the probation office down the street, according to 1st Sgt. Carl Gibbons. Unable to locate his probation officer, Robinson returned to the store where his sister was shopping.
Upon her request, he moved the car and returned to the probation office. Thompson later exited the store and found the doors locked, unable to enter the vehicle, police said.
The woman apparently searched for Robinson but could not locate him, resorting to placing a panicked call to the E-911 center, officers said. She told dispatchers that the vehicle was locked with a two month-old baby inside.
Louisville police and Rural Metro Ambulance personnel were summoned, with one officer checking the probation office while another officer and paramedics converged on the vehicle.
Robinson was quickly located and the car was opened. Paramedics on the scene treated the infant girl for heat exhaustion, said EMS Supervisor Mike Bennett.
Following protocol for such incidents, Bennett said the temperature maximum on Aug. 3 was 93 degrees and a heat index of 99 degrees. Bennett estimated the temperature inside the vehicle to be 102 degrees. He added that paramedics believe the child was inside the vehicle for approximately 30 minutes.
Paramedics found the infant limp, shallowly breathing, sweating heavily yet cold and clammy. She was transported to Jefferson Hospital where she was treated and released. At press time, the infant was still in DFACS custody.
The two adults were arrested and read their rights. In his statement to police, Robinson said he thought his sister had the baby with her. Thompson declined to give a statement, officers said.
Bennett said young children, and even pets, should never be left alone in a vehicle because heat exhaustion can occur much more quickly than most people realize. Rapidly following heat exhaustion in young children is heat stroke, a life threatening condition.
"With children and infants it just doesn't take much to go from heat exhaustion to heat stroke," Bennett said.
Commenting on the incident, Gibbons said the officer's concern was to get to the infant quickly. Any damage that might have been done to the vehicle would have been secondary in nature. Gibbons said the condition of the infant was his predominant concern during the brief incident.
"I kept thinking, am I going to be able to get this child out okay. I kept praying that the baby was all right," he said.