If you believe that children are our future, that we should teach them well and let them lead the way, the Clarke County School District wants you to apply to sit on a local school governance team.
The teams are being formed as part of CCSD’s transition to a charter system. (Usual caveat: Charter systems are not the same as charter schools.) In becoming a charter system, CCSD has promised to meet certain performance goals in exchange for freedom from state regulations. Charter systems are required to form governance teams at each school, which will have input into hiring the principal, budgets and curriculum, tailoring policies (within the overall district policies) to the needs of each school. Their job is “to align the needs and assets of the schools and the community,” Charter System Director James Barlament said during a presentation on LSGTs at Cedar Shoals High School Aug. 30.
An example of an LSGT project that could align a school with its surrounding community is cleaning up a polluted stream, Barlament said. Neighborhood residents could participate in the cleanup alongside public-school and UGA students. When finished, the stream could become a point of pride and a recreation area for the whole community, and curricula in everything from science to art could be designed around it, Barlament said.
Teams will have access to an unprecedented amount of neighborhood-level data being collected by the University of Georgia College of Public Health, in partnership with CCSD, the Athens Housing Authority, the Athens-Clarke County government and United Way. “We actually don’t have a good comprehensive picture of what the needs and assets are” in each neighborhood, said professor Grace Bagwell-Adams, who’s heading up the study. “It’s going to be a critical piece of moving forward with the charter system,” she said.
All in all, about 300 people are needed to serve on LSGTs for the district’s 21 schools. Each LSGT will include three parents or guardians of children who attend the school; two teachers or other staff; two citizens who live or work in the school’s attendance zone; and the principal. In addition, middle- and high-school LSGTs will include a student appointed by the principal, and teams can appoint up to two at-large members if the team lacks diversity or needs special skills. Except for principals, who are ex officio, and students, who serve one year, terms are two years long.
Parents and guardians will elect the parent/guardian representatives and CCSD employees will elect the employee representatives in October, and one “core community member” will be selected by yet-to-be-determined means, according to Barlament. In November and December, the teams will select two more community members, and training will begin in January. LSGTs will start formulating and implementing school improvement plans during the 2017–18 school year.
Applications for LSGT positions are due Sept. 30. Barlament said he’d received 240 as of Aug. 30, but still needed more parent/guardian candidates at Alps, Barnett Shoals, Cleveland Road, Fowler Drive, J.J. Harris and Clarke Central, and teacher/staff candidates everywhere except Cedar Shoals.
LSGTs will meet at least seven times a year—three times each semester and once over the summer. The time commitment is a minimum of 16 hours, but that only includes meetings, not training or any outside tasks the team might assign members. “It’s all driven by the nature of the work,” Barlament said. “How much time are you willing to put in?” Oh, and LSGTs don’t pay—you’d be a volunteer.
To learn more, click here or attend one of three upcoming information sessions: Sept. 12 in the Clarke Central High School auditorium, Sept. 22 at Stroud Elementary or Sept. 29 at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School. All three are at 6 p.m.
ICLE: Three employees of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education at UGA were fired last week after an internal audit found financial improprieties, according to the Fulton County Daily Report, a legal publication. UGA has also turned the report over to the state attorney general’s office to decide whether to prosecute Executive Director Stephen Harper, Information Technology Director Brian Davis and Office Manager Janet Andrews.
The three are accused of using ICLE resources for personal gain without reimbursement (such as cell phones for the director’s children), understating taxable benefits, improper record-keeping, inaccurate reporting of leave time, conflicts of interest and shredding documents in a cover-up attempt, according to the audit.
Harper’s lawyer has challenged the audit’s accuracy, and all three employees are appealing their firings.
UGA is handling these accusations differently than in a similar case three years ago, when Sallyanne Barrow blew the whistle on Deborah Dietzler, then the director of the UGA Alumni Association and the university’s chief fundraiser. Dietzler scheduled work trips around marathons in other cities, staying in expensive hotels in violation of policy, was rarely in the office and did not keep track of her hours, Barrow told superiors. Barrow has said they harassed and fired her in retaliation while transferring Dietzler to another job at the same salary and giving her six months to find new employment. She did, at the University of Louisville, but quit when WSB-TV reported on the allegations. Meanwhile, Barrow has sued the Board of Regents.
Grand Theft Auto: It’s that time of year again, when the easy marks—uh, I mean new students—show up in town, so it’s not much of a surprise that the ACC Police Department recently warned of a “slight increase” in car break-ins. ACCP warned UGA students and staff to remove valuables from their vehicles or keep them in the trunk, glove box or center console; thieves will move on to easier targets if nothing is in plain sight. “Don’t leave it if you want to keep it,” said Neighborhood Service Officer Julita Sanders. And don’t forget to report suspicious activity—if you see something, say something.
Walk, Don’t Run: AIDS Athens is hoping to raise $30,000 with a charity walk next month, according to the nonprofit’s former director, Olivia Chelko-Long (who’s now at Positive Impact Health Centers in Atlanta). The money would benefit the primary care clinic at the Athens Resource Center for Hope on North Avenue that AIDS Athens operates with the Athens Nurses Clinic, as well as supportive housing for more than 400 AIDS and HIV patients in the Athens area, and testing and prevention for another 2,500 people. The three-mile walk is from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, and starts and ends at Tate Plaza. Here's the link to register as an individual or a team.
If you’d rather run, on the following Sunday, Oct. 9, AthFest Educates holds its annual AthHalf half-marathon, a fundraiser for local music and arts education grants. A discounted registration rate is available until Sept. 18, and if you’re busy on race day, for half price you can run a half-marathon anytime between now and Oct. 12 and be counted as an official AthHalf participant. Click here for more.