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Going paperless on state tests
BoE member unhappy with taste of school lunches

The Long County Board of Education learned during its March 10 meeting that all state tests would eventually be taken on a computer.  
Glenn Purcell, the district’s chief of staff, told the members that, within five years, no state tests would be given with a pencil and paper. He said this goal will be phased in, with 30 percent of state tests to be conducted online this year, 80 percent by 2017 and 100 percent in 2020.
To meet this year’s quota, all students at Long County High School would test online, and an additional 100 students would be selected from Smiley and Walker elementary and Long County Middle schools, he said.
Despite schools facing a few initial problems with compatibility and hardware, Purcell said he sees no problem with the school system being able to reach the goal of 100 percent online testing over the next five years.
Testing online offers several benefits, he said, including less logistical work by teachers. Also, Purcell added, statistics show that most students perform better when they test online.

School-lunch complaint
Board member Florence Baggs voiced her displeasure with school lunches. Having just recently eaten at one of the cafeterias she said that the food had no salt and she did not see how anyone could eat the meals.  
“It’s the worst thing I have ever tasted in my life,” she said.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters said the federal government had determined that many kids are overweight, and their plan to solve this problem was to force schools to serve only healthy meals. As a result, he said, salt has been removed. Waters told Baggs that he would get with school nutrition director Stephanie Fox to see if there was anything that could be done to help with the problem.

Student learning objectives
Curriculum coordinator Janet Poole told the board that state-required student learning objectives have been created and turned in to the Department of Education. She said the department reviewed them, and the teachers made revisions. After the revisions were complete, the school system only received positive comments from the department on the objectives.
Waters said the teachers did a great job considering that they only had three months to prepare them on top of their normal instructional duties.  
“Normally we don’t do this, the state does,” he said. “But they didn’t have any money, so they passed it down to us. We don’t have any money either, but our folks still got it done.”

High-school report
Long County High Principal Scotty Hattaway went gave the board a brief report on the Feb. 26 bomb threat. The school’s response went well, despite the cold weather, he said.
The students were well-behaved, and authorities quickly responded to the incident, Hattaway said.
“When I got to Smiley and saw the number of law enforcement … it was a warming thought knowing that we had that many respond so quickly,” Waters said.
Hattaway also told the members that the remedial school training that was being offered on Saturdays was going better than he ever expected. He said 40 to 60 kids have been attending the classes, and the goal of the work is to help them master the required standards on which they fell short in the classroom.

Fiscal review
Board Chairwoman Janet Watford informed the other members that the district’s 2014 Fiscal Year Exit Review is complete, with no problems found.  
Because of the good review, the school system is rated as a “low risk.” She then commended Chief Finance Officer Bridget Welch for doing an outstanding job.
Welch also reported to the members that the school system had received an additional $1,013,042 from the Fort Stewart Brigade Remediation Funds for capital outlay projects.

In other business, the board:
• Approved Dennis DeLoach as its representative at the Georgia School Boards Association’s convention, with Baggs as an alternate.
• Commended Long County High for being selected as an AP Challenge School.
• Approved Kelly Temporary Services to handle the scheduling and selecting of all substitute employees, except bus drivers.
• Approved Buckley and Associates as the school system’s architect.

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