Greene Notes

News & Notices for Team Tigers - October 2022

📝 From the Superintendent

Greetings GCSS Team,

I hope you were able to relax a little and enjoy Fall Break and are returning refreshed for the 2nd half of Fall 2022. We have just 19 days until Thanksgiving break, so let’s give it all we’ve got! Attendance for both students and staff is crucial in these final weeks as we prepare for the upcoming holiday breaks. As always, I’d like to remind everyone to take health safety precautions to keep our schools safe and healthy, such as washing your hands and sanitizing frequently, to avoid the spread of cold and flu.

Everywhere I look, I’m excited about what’s happening in our schools. During a recent visit to GCPS, I caught Ms. Karine Dickens doing an exceptional job engaging students during an ELA lesson. I want to give a shout-out to all of our great teachers and thank you for continuing to find new ways to engage and inspire students! I have challenged the BOE Members to participate in the Trunk or Treat on Oct. 28th at GCPS again this year; Chairman Lynch set the bar high last year with his Batman costume! Every year, I look forward to handing out candy to our Pre-K students when they trick or treat through District Office. At CMS, I’m excited about the new D.A.R.E. class that Sergeant Gause has begun with the 5th graders. I was a D.A.R.E. officer for many years in Oconee County Schools, so I know the huge difference the program makes for the culture and climate in a school. (And I’m glad the 4th graders finally have their new furniture in the cottages!)

Last week I had the pleasure of attending this year's REACH Georgia Scholarship ceremony and presenting one of the REACH Scholarships to GCHS 10th grader Karla Tirado-Guillermo, on behalf of the GCSS Leadership team as the sponsor of her scholarship. All of our REACH scholars are talented, deserving students who will go far. I would also like to thank the GCCA for recently hosting tours for local community groups, including the Farm Bureau Board and the Concerned Clergy. One of the best ways to get the word out about the great things going on in our buildings is to bring folks in and let them see firsthand for themselves and then go and spread the word in the community.

The Flag Football season kicks off tomorrow at Clarke Central, and on Friday, Tiger Football plays at home vs. Aquinas. Please come out and root on the Tigers as we honor the Class of 2023 at halftime for Senior Night! As always, thank you to each and every one of you for all the ways in which you educate, inspire, challenge, and support our students.

🍎 Get to Know the 2022-2023 Teachers of the Year

🏫 Update on New Elementary School

Groundbreaking on the new Greene County Elementary School building on Meadow Crest Road is tentatively scheduled for January 2023. It is expected to serve 900 students in grades Pre-K—5th and is expected to open in July 2024. Below are new renderings from the school architect (Gardner, Spencer, Smith, Tench & Jarbeau) which showcase the building's innovative design and collaborative learning spaces.

🎓 First Parent University a success!

The first Parent University was held at Greene County High School on Oct. 1st with special guest speaker Dr. Stephen Peters (author of One: A Process for Success for Every One and Everyone) and breakout sessions with GCSS staff. Parents attended sessions on topics such as Read to Succeed with the ELA instructional coaches from all three schools, Tech Tools for Success with Dr. Christa Deissler, Understanding FAFSA and the College Application Process with Dr. Laurie Weaver, and Gifted, High Achieving, and Enrichment Programs with Ms. Tara Burdette and Ms. Penni Paradise. Parents commented that they found all of the sessions very beneficial and thought they should be repeated at future meetings, and several noted that their biggest takeaway was regarding how routines and consistency have a reinforcing impact on skills such as literacy. While the first session was well-attended, the Parent University team hopes to continue to grow the program for the next event on December 3rd.

🏅 2023 Class of REACH Georgia Scholars

Congratulations to our 2022 REACH Georgia Scholarship cohort! TiraJai Heath, Jamari Johnson, Justin Robertson, and Torriah Stinson from Anita White Carson Middle School and Jack Alvarez from Lake Oconee Academy make up the Greene County School System's sixth class of REACH scholars since the school system joined the program in 2017. REACH scholars are selected in 8th grade via a rigorous application and interview process and must demonstrate an interest in higher education and a verified financial need. The funding for each GCSS REACH scholarship stems from private donations by Greene County individuals, companies, and organizations. Each local donor sponsors a REACH scholarship with a contribution of $1,000, which the state matches with a $9,000 and many participating postsecondary schools donate $10,000-$20,000 for each student. Congratulations again to the GCSS REACH Georgia Class of 2027 scholars!
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🦺 In Safety News

  • The district has applied for a $50,000 school safety grant from the Georgia Department of Education to buy more Motorola radios for each building.
  • New single-entry visitor signage has been installed at each building in both English and Spanish to advise visitors of the district's visitor policies.

💼 Update on Board of Education Special Called Joint Meeting with LOA Board of Governors

The Greene County Board of Education is pleased to announce that at a joint special called meeting last week, the BOE and the Lake Oconee Academy Board of Governors approved a draft agreement that will be given to their respective attorneys to create a final and binding resolution of all current disputed legal issues and end the multi-year lawsuit filed by Lake Oconee Academy in 2020.

The two boards voted to approve a draft agreement outlining consensus on both the enrollment cap at LOA and funding for students enrolled above the funding cap during the 2021-2022 school year. The terms of the draft agreement were negotiated directly between representatives of the two boards, who worked through a three-hour meeting to find a resolution.

“In this draft agreement, LOA receives additional payments which it contends were due under the charter, the Board of Education receives agreement as to its funding obligations and fulfillment of the terms of the charter with regard to enrollment, and taxpayers get an end to the litigation and clarity as to the terms of the relationship for the next two years,” said GCSS Superintendent Dr. Chris Houston following the meeting. “While both sides made considerable concessions, tonight’s meeting set forth a process whereby these important elements can be accomplished without any student having to be disenrolled from any school that they presently attend.”