The Liberty County Board of Education on Tuesday heard an update from Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee regarding progress the district has made toward achieving its stated goals.
Lee said that, despite the ever-changing standards set by the state and national departments of education, LCSS has done an exceptional job of rolling with the punches.
“It’s very hard to hit a moving target, and that’s what we find ourselves trying to do many times as educators,” she said. “As soon as we think we’ve got it nailed down, we get a new memo that says the nails have been changed and we’re going to have to re-nail.”
Earlier this year, the district held community forums where LCSS stakeholders helped shape five goals as part of the school system’s strategic five-year plan. Lee’s update touched briefly on each of those goals: increasing student learning, achievement and college- and career-readiness; providing a safe, supportive learning environment; recruiting and retaining qualified staff; increasing stakeholders’ involvement; and improving internal operations and administrative services.
Lee noted the launch of a dual-enrollment campaign intended to boost the size and scope of dual-enrollment opportunities for LCSS students. Lee said that, historically, LCSS has done an “exceptionally good job” with dual enrollment at Savannah Tech, but that the district would be broadening its outreach to include Armstrong State and Georgia Southern universities.
“We want to afford our boys and girls opportunities to acquire college credit while at the high-school level, and in some instances they will be able to complete a great deal of coursework that ordinarily would be done their freshman year,” she said.
The superintendent also mentioned Georgia Milestones Assessment System benchmark testing, which will allow teachers and students to assess their readiness for the upcoming spring testing. The GMAS system is replacing the Criterion-Referenced Competency and End-of-Course testing systems.
“(GMAS) is a totally different test from what our boys and girls are used to,” Lee said, adding that the benchmark testing will utilize open-ended, leveled and tiered questions, just as the spring GMAS testing will.
She also spoke of Georgia Assessment of Performance on School Standards, or GAPSS, analyses going on within the district. According to Lee, four district schools underwent the analysis last year, and this year, dates have been set for Snelson-Golden Middle and Waldo Pafford Elementary schools to perform the assessments. Liberty County High School already underwent the assessment earlier this school year.
Lee also noted that text and email alert lists as well as a monthly bulletin signup form are available on the district’s website. She said her superintendent’s blog still is in development, and, once established, will allow direct communication between her and all district stakeholders.
The superintendent also informed the board that October is “anti-bullying month in these United States,” and that LCSS has chosen the color orange as its anti-bullying campaign color. She said that on Oct. 22, everyone in the district and “hopefully, our community” will wear orange in support of anti-bullying.
“Bullying will not be tolerated in Liberty County,” Lee said.