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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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October 3, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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October 3, 2018
 

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Page 6D October 3, 2018 aR orter e ! e ! By Diune Glidewell news@mymcr.nef Principal Dr. Jim Finch updated the school board on Sept. 11 about how the transition to block sched- uling is going at Mary Persons. At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year the high school changed from a schedule Of seven 50-minute dasses each day to four 90 minute dasses. Most courses are now completed at the end of the semester so that students will earn credits for eight courses instead of seven courses each year. Finch said that five weeks into the first semester the transition seemed to be going well. He said students to pick from what is offered. They registered 10th graders in the fall, then 11th graders, then 12th graders in December. They developed a system for classes that need a full year, labelling them Black/ Gold courses to be taught on alternate dates instead of Monday-Friday like most classes. Marion said the fine arts classes were probably the hardest to adapt, but it was also important to adjust Advanced Placement classes since the standard- ized tests for AP college credit are only given in the spring. The transition team went to Oconee County to observe 90-minute classes and get input of that Assistant Principal positives and negatives of Tammy Marion, along with block scheduling. They Assistant Prindpals Robert also talk,Aer 1Aa 8 Lindsey and Sarah Alford and Upson County school and the counselors and systems. graduation coach worked Most students are tak- to figure out the changes ing two electives and two in scheduling, AP courses, academic dasses each fine arts classes, exam semester. Marion said most exemption polities, top five students got the classes they percent/valedictorian/salu- wanted. Block scheduling tatorian, and daily session works well for dual enroll- planning, ment students who come "So far, so good;' said and go from the Mary Marion. "It was a huge Persons campus during the undertaking to build it. We school day had an awesome team. We Most teachers surveyed networked with other sys- had a positive response terns, students and teach- to the new scheduling. ers, but we had to put our The main complaint is no brand on it." longer having a common She said they started planning period with other building the schedule by teachers teaching the same asking students what class- subjects so that they can es they wanted to take, the share ideas and informa- opposite of the usual telling tion. Charlie Pelt, Agent 12 E. Johnston St. Forsyth, GA 31029 478-994-9600 Charlie@ForsythGAInsurance.com Auto - Home - Life Medicare Supplement Vehicle Loans Mortgages Call for a quote today! Save up to 40 /M Finch said that discipline referrals are down, possibly because students change classes less frequently and spend less time in the halls. This year's 9th grade class is only 267 students, about 50-60 students less than most other classes; that has helped with the transition. Overall dasses each have more students because of students getting an addi- tional class for the year. "In my visits everything seems to be going well with less transitions" said Superintendent Dr. Mike Hickman. "You've done everything to put yourself in position to be success- fuL" In other BOE news: Assistant Superintendent mao told board members about the programs for gifted students at Monroe County Schools. The district is serving 403 students in its gifted programs, 21 more students than last year. The goal is to have at least 10 percent of the district in gifted programs, which would be 382 students. There are 166 students at Mary Persons served through AP or Honors classes, 121 students at Monroe County Middle School served through the ALPHA program, 32 stu- dents in the gifted program at K.B. Sutton Elementary, 46 students at T.G. Scott and 38 students at Hubbard Elementary. Elementary students are served daily by a gifted endorsed teacher at their school plus one day per week at Project SOAR Gifted Center at Hubbard Elementary. Elder said there is a new program this year called PILOT where gifted endorsed teachers visit kindergarten daises each Friday and teach 30-minute lessons about critical think- ing and creativity with the intention of identifying gifted children earlier. Elder said either parents or teachers can refer chil- dren to the gifted program. Children are tested for the gifted program three times each year. If parents refer children they complete a questionnaire about the child's behavior. Monroe County Schools' gifted eligibility committee meets once per month. Elder said Monroe County Schools received $744,000 in funding this year for the pre-kinder- garten program. It is vol- untary; the state does not require children to attend pre-kindergarten. Monroe County Schools has nine pre-kindergarten classes of 22 students each, dis- tributed among its three Elder said about 100 four-year-olds in Monroe County are not served by the pre-K classes at the public schools. There are waiting lists for both T.G. Scott and K.B. Sutton. However, attendance zones may be crossed for pre- K. If there is an opening at Hubbard Elementary, the child at the top of the list from one of the other schools may fill it if parents provide transportation. Elder said that some parents of four-year-olds choose to send their chil- dren to pre-K at one of the church programs in the county instead of the public schools. Financial Director Chris Johnson told the board that the school system is in good financial shape and has all of its bills paid. He said some of the numbers may look out of line on the financial report, because the school system pays some annual and semi- annual expenses this time of year. This includes some insurance payments and debt service payments. They will balance out over the year, according to Johnson. The board approved a service contract for PRI (Primary Rate Interface) with AT&T for the school system's telephone lines. Technology Director Valerie Mercer told the board PRI uses digital lines to provide phone service. The contract is for a base rate of $484 per month; Mercer said it saves the schools about $5,000 over traditional phone lines. Surcharges and taxes are less with PRI than they would be on multiple indi- vidual lines. Mercer said the 36-month contract doesn't include long distance calls, but the school does have some copper lines as backup. The -~a;,;,~ 1 phone lines at the schools are used for fax lines, for the fire alarms at night and as backup if power goes out. Mercer said AT&T has announced that it will be selling its copper lines. Hubbard Elementary Principal Jay Johnston told the board about Hubbard's Safety Patrol program for 4th and 5th grade students and its Watch Dogs pro- gram for fathers and other adult males. Hickman asked Johnston to update the board on the two pro- grams because they have been gaining momentum this year. Johnston said Hubbard has had a Safety Patrol program for a few years, but the role of the students was loosely defined as hall monitors. This year with parents no longer allowed to walk their children to class in the morning because of safety concerns about visitors being in the building, the older students have filled a need role of making both parents and younger students feel comfortable as they escort the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students from the lobby to their class- rooms. "It creates a safety mind- set and school pride," said Johnston. "It creates the sense of home we want to instill in these little Tigers. It helps with positive school culture:' He said the Safety Patrol was espedaUy helpful during the first few days of school There are now more 4th and 5th graders who want to participate than there are spaces avail- able. The Safety Patrol members are selected from the Junior Beta Club. Members are rotated to give them opportunities to serve. The Watch D.O.G.S. pro- gram at Hubbard started during the 2017-18 school year, and the children of some of the original mem- bers have moved up to middle school. Johnston said the goal in organizing the group was to involve male role models in the school in places where they felt comfortable. "Having more men in and around the building increases the feeling of safety" he said. "When Dad is around, kids will act a little different" Johnston said one impor- tant duty of the Watch D.O.G.S. is to help at the car rider lines, which he considers the most vulner- able time at the school for safety. The goal is to make it easy for father figures to come into the elemen- tary school setting, doing things like grilling and helping on the playground. Hubbard is working to add grandfathers to the group. Johnston said that 476 grandparents visited the school for grandparents days this year, including many grandfathers. '~ lot of safety upgrades have been intrusive to par- ents7 said Hickman. "This helps bring them in in the right way." 109DP I R0ad apply and manage ccotmt online wwwJffe.com III I e e By Aliyah Dorsey Minori's Italian Ristorante will participate in a fun- draiser for Loaves and Fishes, a charity in middle Georgia that provides ser- vices to the homeless and financially insecure, on Thursday, Oct. 11. A por- tion of the profits from that day will go to Loaves and Fishes. Minori's is a Monroe County family-owned Italian restaurant that has been in business since December 2017. Owner Chelsea Larkin, who is also the head chef, says she is "hoping to get new people to the restaurant who haven't tried it before" She thinks it is a great idea to be one of the 12 restaurants involved in the event. Loaves and Fishes has been in the middle Georgia community for many years but has not gotten much attention for the many ser- vices they provide. "We're the best kept secret in Macon," said Judy Sexton, director of Loaves and Fishes. Loaves and Fishes offers a variety of services for those who come through their doors, including showers, a clothing bank, grocery services as well as a laun- dromat: It also helps clients get needed medication and identification. All of these services are housed at 651 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. in Macon. The organization is not just for residents of Macon.; anyone who needs services is welcome. "We try to meet the needs of whatever person comes in. So you know we need a lot of different things" said Sexton. Loaves and Fishes serves over 500 people each week, and the fundraiser will hdp to serve many more. m u ~.~- Caldwell Veterinary Hospital, LLC N w name, $ame great am@e. Pollard Hearing joins the I Laboratory Authorized i Optimal Hearing Family. t DiscountsI I *OffMSRPSeestorefordetalls, I MACON 3759Vineville Ave. 478-257-3820 We cepf mo~ Int, umnces. We Service All Makes and Models and offer Audlometrk Screen ings and Video Ear Inspection s. ~ us af www,~t/malheodm$, tom ~ 1 i Continued from 3C said Presley. Presley asked what could be done about properties like the lot next to the new Birthing Center that now has abandoned vehicles. He said Planning & Zoning approved a variance for an automotive repair center on the property a couple of years ago, and the owner of the property, Mr. Freeman, promised that he would not allow his tenant to have abandoned vehides. The business has since closed. Presley was not sure whether Planning & Zoning approved a zoning change or just con- ditional use. "We need to be consistent and exercise some jurisdic- tion over these properties" said Presley. Coleman asked who is enforcing the city's zoning ordinances and how it is done. Maj. George Foster of Forsyth Police Department has code enforcement as one of his duties since the city eliminated its full-time 951 Butler Caldwell, D VM Hwy 41 South Forsyth, GA 31029 478-994-8228 www.caldwellvet.com Preventative Medicine including vaccines, flea,tick and heartworm medications. Comprehensive medical management, including diabetes and heart disease ' Surgery Boarding The S~m'/ard of Veterinory E~c~lb~e code enforcement position. "It is written that he is pro-active and brings to the property owner's atten- tion before it becomes a big problem" said Hall. "If that's the case, when we have a meeting, can we get a report from him?" asked Presley. Hall said the code enforcement officer inter- acts with the property owner and if necessary takes the person to dty court. "It's not you guys" said Hall. "I don't know what Planning & Zoning would do with that information." Pierson asked if she should set up separate agendas for Design & Review issues and Planning & Zoning. Presley asked her to show each request on the agenda but not to set up two agendas since there is only one commission that covers both aspects of building in the city.