Letter: Holton welcomes students back to school

Dear Parents/Guardians:
I would like to welcome you back to a new school year and formally invite you to attend Open House on Friday, July 28, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  This will be an ideal opportunity to meet with returning teachers and new faculty members, as well as learn of new programs, features, and course offerings.  Teachers will begin pre-planning on Tuesday, July 25, and students will report on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
In an effort to improve communication between parents and the school, we are excited to announce that text messaging and automated phone messages will be provided through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal this year. With the Parent Portal account, parents have instant access to students’ grades and attendance. They may also update contact information such as phone numbers, email, emergency contacts, and addresses. Please note that all address changes will require additional documentation to be provided to the GCCS School Registrar, Mrs. Tracy Hutcheson. Parents who do not already have a Parent Portal account are encouraged to visit the Parent Portal booth at Open House to register or contact Mrs. Jessica Miller, GCCS Student Information Coordinator.
A new safety feature this school year is the Checkmate computer station which will be located in the front office. The Checkmate station will be used to sign in/out late arriving students and document early dismissals. Parents or other visitors will also use the Checkmate computer station to check in/out of the building. All visitors will receive a printed visitor’s badge that must be worn while in the building. 
The school system is in its fourth year as a Charter System and as a result opportunities have expanded for students to excel in elementary and middle grades and greater opportunities have been provided for high school students to earn college and technical school credits prior to graduation. Our Gifted/Honors program is serving more students and showing great success. In order for more students to fully take advantage of the Move on When Ready program, we will continue to offer 8th grade honors students the opportunity to earn high school credits.  The system’s Charter status allows the flexibility to waive many state rules and school related state laws in order to better serve our students’ needs; however, federal laws and regulations such as those required by the Office for Civil Rights cannot be waived.
Opportunities continue for Glascock County students to participate in dual enrollment at Warren County Career Academy through Oconee Fall Line Technical College receiving both high school and college credits. Of the 180 school systems in Georgia, Glascock County has the 7th highest percentage of students enrolled in MOWR coursework. This year eligible students will be offered History 1111, Psychology 1101, and English Composition I and II, and a host of technical college class offerings while receiving both high school and college credit for courses. Students have no expense and the coursework does not count against the HOPE scholarship cap when students later enroll in a college, whether technical or in the University System. Students are also encouraged to dually enroll in other area colleges such as Augusta University, Augusta Technical College, Georgia College and State University, and Georgia Military College through the Move on When Ready Program.
Throughout the school year, continued efforts will be made to prepare GCCS graduates to be college and career ready. Students in Grades 1-12 will participate in various grade level college and career exploration activities including classroom guidance lessons, guest speakers, and college and industry field trips. Be sure to see the monthly school letter for valuable information regarding college and career preparation as well as announcements for parent workshops. For questions about any of these activities and programs or for assistance with college and career preparation for your child, please contact GCCS Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Ann Cantrell.
GCCS will continue to offer sports opportunities for students in grades 3-5 through the ‘Junior Pro’ sports program allowing our younger teams to compete against independent schools.   This program allows younger students to play football, basketball, and softball against private schools in our area such as Brentwood, Briarwood, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock Academies. We were very pleased with the positive response from students and parents last year, and hope to build on this opportunity for our younger students. 
This will be the fourth year under the Georgia Milestones summative assessment program which spans grades 3-12. For the 2017-2018 school year, passing the ELA/Reading portion of the Milestones in grade 3 and passing the ELA/Reading and Math portions in grades 5 and 8 will be a requirement for promotion. In addition, Milestones End of Course assessments will count as 20% of the course grade in specific high school courses. Science and Social Studies Milestones assessments will continue to be given in only grades 5, 8, and select high school courses.  For more information on the GA Milestones Assessment System, go to www.gadoe.org or contact Ann Cantrell, GCCS Assessment Director.  
The Glascock County Board of Education recognizes that the use of technology is critical to the success of our students.  Through cooperative efforts with the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, GCCS internet capacity doubled to 100 megabytes this past school year.  Additionally 43 wireless ports, which are designed to serve 30 wireless devices each, have been installed throughout the K-12 facility this summer. This allows greater internet speed and capabilities, as our students’ use of technology is steadily increasing.  With Georgia’s curriculum and assessment requiring more technology use by students in earlier grades, additional computers and other technology devices will be provided for our elementary and middle school students creating increased access and better technology offerings. 
The Glascock County Board of Education, faculty and staff realize the significance of parental involvement and encourage all parents to become involved in the instructional process of our students.  A personal invitation is extended for you to participate and become involved in our Athletic Boosters Club, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), educational parent programs, Academic Nights, and our Box Tops program. Our hope is to foster positive parental relationships throughout the year, which will automatically lend itself to the enhancement and progression of each child’s academic accomplishments.
School supply lists are available on the school website www.glascock.k12.ga.us.  Enclosed is a copy of the 2017-2018 school calendar. Our faculty and staff strive to provide our children the best education possible and are looking forward to a successful school year.  If you have any questions or concerns, please give me a call at (706) 598-2291 or email jholton@glascock.k12.ga.us.  
Thank you for all that you do to support our school system and your child’s education.
Jim Holton
Glascock County 
Superintendent of Schools