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State of Jefferson County schools to be discussed Thursday


The News and Farmer

Every month, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce invites a community leader to speak at one of the Chamber’s sessions in its Update Series, which was created to showcase specific entities within the county.

“Each monthly highlight allows the community an opportunity to learn, discuss and ask questions in an inclusive, welcoming environment,” said Chamber Pres. Amy Howard.

“We have showcased Jefferson Hospital, Jefferson County Development Authority, the cities of Wrens, Louisville and Wadley and the County budget. This month the Jefferson County School System is our focus.”

Thursday the speaker is Jefferson County School Board Superintendent Dr. Molly Howard.

“I will bring information about the new middle school including progress of construction, first looks at the design, and instructional focus of the new school. I will also discuss effects of the recession years on school funding and how we have weathered those years,” Dr. Howard said.

The new middle school Dr. Howard mentioned is currently being built next to Jefferson County High School. This school will take the place of the county’s two middle schools, one in Wrens and one in Louisville.

The superintendent said the school’s construction is on schedule.

“We still plan to open fall of 2019,” she said.

About 40 teachers have left Jefferson County’s school system this year, which Dr. Howard said is typical; and, there is a variety of reasons, including retirement.

“Our only position that has not been filled is one Spanish teacher at the high school. We are still looking to fill that position. We have made some shifts and changes and have student needs met temporarily with the one remaining Spanish teacher we have,” she said.

The superintendent added there has been a decline in students.

“Like most rural counties in Georgia, enrollment has decreased to reflect the birth rate in Jefferson County. Jefferson County has lost about 1,000 people during recession years and this has also impacted school enrollment,” she said.

Unlike previous years where state funding to schools has been cut, Dr. Howard said funding is currently steady.

“No deep cuts but the cost of insurance and retirement have increased dramatically. We just have to budget wisely to cover the increased costs,” she said.

One of the biggest challenges facing the county schools is connecting with parents.

“Our school system continually looks for ways to involve and engage our parents and community in our schools. Everyone is busy and it is difficult to find ways to engage and involve parents in the education of our students,” Dr. Howard said.

Chamber Pres. Howard said community members interested in attending one of the updates, can contact her at the Chamber of Commerce at 478-625-8134.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to have Dr. Howard updating us on the Jefferson County School System. She is an asset to Jefferson County and our schools. As community members, it’s important for us all to be knowledgeable about the school system’s projects and plans and to be aware of all the exciting things happening right here in our county,” Pres. Howard said.

“Attendance at the Community Updates has been good. Although we’d love to have every attendee as a Chamber member, you don’t have to be a Chamber member to attend. Community members, community leaders and business owners are all invited to attend. I’m proud that so many are taking advantage of these opportunities to be involved and, at the same time, learning more about what makes us tick as a community,” she said.

Upcoming presentations are on Public Safety, Culture and Recreation and for the final 2018 update, the Chamber has invited DOT representatives to discuss the Highway 1 expansion.

This newspaper prints the schedule in the Events section. Pres. Howard said they are always at noon, on a Thursday, and, for the remainder of the year, will be at The Dogwood Café in Louisville.


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